Our insight


Given the prediction that, by 2020, 80% of organisations will primarily use public cloud and there will be 10 billion mobile-connected devices¹, it’s no surprise that there’s a Software-Defined WAN boom. Many companies are using this advanced technology to simplify how they move workloads to any cloud, consume hosted applications and enable new services in remote locations. And the stats are compelling: SD-WAN offers 2.25x more bandwidth, software updates can be completed 51% faster and there’s 94% less unplanned downtime.² It’s essentially the enabler for digital transformation across hundreds of companies. 

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DevOps is often thought of in a cloud context. But how can networking benefit from breaking down the silos of Development and IT Operations roles and introduce automation to achieve efficiencies, speed and agility? SD-WAN has the answer. 

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It’s argued that there is a place for both SD-WAN and MPLS in modern WANs. But we’re backing SD-WAN and for good reason...

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The term disruptive gets bandied about a lot these days - seemingly for anything involving a couple of clicks or an app - but while the term is overused, it's a very real phenomenon. Ask Kodak or Blockbuster, who went from market leaders to market leavers when technology undercut their business models.

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SD - should this stand for security disaster?

We're often talking about software-defined networking (SDN), and how the latest generation of hardware has the intelligence to simplify the provisioning and management of networks. Added brains bring the ability to support new security features like Cisco TrustSec, but we've also moved away from the labour-intensive configuration of individual devices, and towards simplified, centralised administration.

That's great for convenience, allowing admins to configure and support branch networks from a single controller, but if there's a weakness in the system, or if an unauthorised user gains access, isn't software definition a disaster waiting to happen? Does SDN actually stand for security disaster networking? We asked network solutions architect Richard Harvey and senior cyber security consultant Adrian Clarke to put our minds at rest.

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It's a few weeks since Cisco announced the next step in its journey toward simplifying and automating network provisioning and management: Cisco DNA Centre. Building on the APIC-EM, which we've been using for a while to help configure intelligent wide-area networks (iWAN), Cisco promises that DNA Centre will be a transformative tool in network design, provisioning, policy management, and support. It's up to people like me to work out whether and when that promise will be fulfilled.

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I've already written a bit about segregating enterprise networks, and about the new technologies that are making this easier and more effective. As Ideal's solution architect for networks it's something I get asked about a lot, so I thought it might be helpful to look at this from the customer point of view. You can probably boil it down to three questions: Do I need to segregate?, What do I need to segregate? and How do I segregate?

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For a long time, technology has existed in silos: hosted, cloud-based, on-premises, data centres, LANs v WANs v SANs - and that's before you even start to consider all the different proprietary brands, operating systems, backends and consoles it takes to make the average IT operation operate - some manufacturers can't even make all their own products talk to each other. But something interesting is happening with APIs, and the walls between systems are, perhaps, beginning to come down.

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