The Cloud-First WAN: Delivering at the Pace of Formula One Racing

This year, we are particularly excited to release Aryaka’s 5th Annual  State of The WAN report, especially given the seismic shift due to the global pandemic. In usual times, in the technology industry, tech innovation is ahead of customer demand. But during the pandemic, customer demand forced many sectors like telemedicine, education, collaboration software, etc., to accelerate the innovation. The enterprise WAN is one such sector. Unprecedented workforce migration to the hybrid workspace is (still) having cascading effects. Many components of WAN service, including delivery location (the branch office evolving to the remote user), service features (from WAN to a WAN and SASE), delivery method (DIY to Network-as-a-Service), and finally the architecture (the Cloud-First WAN), are transforming and all at once!

As the SOTW report suggests, many of the innovations were underway but had to be accelerated at a new pace. Clearly, core characteristics needed to manage such a historic shift are agility and control, something epitomized in Formula One Racing. Formula One teams are typically operated by world-class car manufacturers who build the cars for the race using cutting-edge technologies. Success in Formula One racing depends on the car, driver, and pit stop performance! The pit stops serve as ‘in-flight optimization infrastructure,’ where during the race, wheels are replaced, fuel is replenished, and the engine is repaired and tuned. All elements of the race – the car, the driving strategy, and the pit strategy are developed by the same team, built from the ground-up, and hence closely interlocked to deliver the best winning time. The vertical integration of all elements gives an F1 team agility to innovate, and horizontal participation in all aspects of running the race gives them control.

The Cloud-First WAN approach has adapted similar principles as F1 racing teams. The close integration of custom WAN technology built from the ground-up (the race car) and in-flight optimization of WAN traffic at the edge (the start line) and in the Cloud (the pit stops) offers the necessary agility and true control to deliver the required performance. Above more, the ability to incorporate new technology in the car, in the pit stop, or both provides tremendous flexibility to innovate rapidly.

The traditional MSP approach and architecture have proved to be inflexible and brittle. Will you bet on an F1 team owned by a track builder who races a car sourced from a 3rd party car manufacturer, and more importantly, without any pit stops? Traditional MSPs often have only partial global connectivity (the racetracks) and acquired the WAN technology from 3rd party OEMs (the car) and without any ability to optimize the traffic in the Cloud due to a segregated overlay and underlay networks (no PIT STOPS!).

The traditional MSP model is hamstrung by its dependence for innovation on a potpourri of OEM partners, hampering its ability to respond rapidly to changing customer needs and requirements. It is not surprising that many telcos often struggle with low customer satisfaction and are grappling with delivering SD-WAN and SASE with the ability to make rapid changes.

A cloud-first approach is a necessary architecture in response to long-term trends seen in the industry requiring new agility and application control levels. There has been an explosive growth of applications in recent years, reaching more than 500 applications for the average organization. With that, WAN network complexity and application access and performance have remained top issues for the customers. The Hybrid Workspace and network security (via SASE) requirements have also been trending up in recent years. The pandemic has skyrocketed these trends, and with agility and control embedded in it, the cloud-first approach is the best placed to handle it.

Within the WAN and SASE industry, Aryaka has proven to be the torchbearer for the cloud-first approach and constantly pushes the envelope. Recognition of Aryaka in the Gartner “Voice of Customer” peer review report, for the 2nd year in a row is probably the same reason that Mercedes Benz is consistently a top F1 team!

About the author

Channu Sannappanavar
Channu Sannappanavar is a Director of Product Management at Aryaka Networks and drives strategy and product direction for Aryaka Customer Portal and CX. He leads product and technology for Aryaka Service delivery platform.