Thinking Different with Your Office 365 Deployment

Office 365 for Global Enterprises

Abstracting our applications into the cloud has made it easier for IT to distribute, manage, and update software for the global enterprise – but the simplicity of the technology does not come without caveats. With applications moving outside of the data center and into the cloud, IT now must figure out ways to optimize connectivity and performance over the enterprise WAN.

Office 365, which is delivered as-a-service, has replaced Microsoft Office. It is one of the most popular applications for enterprises worldwide and still growing each day. End users, however, can connect only via Internet, which cannot guarantee performance. Though this is such a business-critical application, companies often vastly underprepare their network to optimize application performance. So what’s an enterprise IT team to do?

Connecting Your Network to Microsoft’s Edge

Software-as-a-service presents specific challenges to enterprises using legacy technology as their network architecture, because there is no easy way to connect directly to the cloud using only MPLS.

Companies like Microsoft make their as-a-service applications available through cloud platforms – in this case, Azure – and offer direct connections (in this case, called ExpressRoute) from your WAN through “an any-to-any (IP VPN) network, a point-to-point Ethernet network, or a virtual cross-connection through a connectivity provider at a co-location facility.”

While the ExpressRoute itself is optimized for application performance, you still need to provide connectivity from the middle mile (your WAN) to the Azure edge – which, with MPLS, means that you must layer on third-party solution that provides this capability. This can be complex to procure, implement, and connect to the cloud.

The Challenge with ExpressRoute

Even if the edge is optimized, SaaS applications – especially Office 365 –  require a WAN with WAN Optimization and adequate bandwidth. Office 365 users expect to be able to collaborate on documents hosted in Sharepoint in real time and so require a stable network connection to remain productive. MPLS, however, isn’t not inherently WAN Optimized, which means IT departments must layer WAN Optimization Controllers on top of the network and expend the resources to maintain them. They must also cut into the budget for additional bandwidth, which is both expensive and time-consuming to deploy.

In addition, if your end user is not in a geography where Microsoft has a presence, connectivity becomes even harder. Often, global companies with headquarters in geographies with highly developed infrastructures, like the US, make decisions about their global application deployment based on their HQ’s geography. So, just because Microsoft’s ExpressRoute is relatively easy to connect to from the US, your global branch offices may not have the same experience.

When the connection is bad, due to latency, packet loss, jitter, or simply bad infrastructure, you can’t just throw bandwidth at the problem, hoping things will get better.

A good Office 365 deployment starts with first recognizing that MPLS with ExpressRoute and/or the public internet will not lead to optimal outcomes for your global workforce, and then deploying smart, next-generation solutions that were built with this particular cloud environment in mind.

The Solution for a Seamless Office 365 Deployment

When you’re considering an Office 365 deployment, here are the questions you must honestly ask yourself and your strategic business partners:

  1. Are we basing decisions about this deployment on our current results with other SaaS deployments in the US? Are we testing connectivity to SaaS environments in other geographies?
  2. Do we have the bandwidth for this increasingly data-intensive application, and, if not, are we prepared to postpone deployment until we can build up or change our infrastructure so as not to affect user performance?
  3. Is our infrastructure WAN Optimized, and, if not, do we have the resources for ongoing maintenance of additional WAN Optimization hardware?
  4. Can our end users connect with Microsoft’s ExpressRoute over our current WAN infrastructure in all geographies, and, if not, what other investments do we need to make in order to extend the middle mile?

If those questions give you pause (and hopefully, they do), then you might want to try answering them with Aryaka’s global SD-WAN instead.

Aryaka’s global SD-WAN is the only SD-WAN with its own purpose-built, global private WAN. We deliver the network security as a service via 28 points of presence located within 30 ms of 95% of the world’s business users. We shorten the perceived distance between end users and Microsoft’s edge and abstract the network. With built-in WAN-Optimization and SD-WAN, we make Office 365 run faster. The network bypasses the internet with our global private WAN and includes TCP optimization, data deduplication, and SSL optimization through our SmartLink technology so you don’t have to scale your bandwidth as a first resort.

Office 365 Deployment with Aryaka

If you do need to scale your bandwidth, it only takes a few hours to do so. We scale to meet your needs in different geographies, without your having to wait for us to build up the infrastructure in the area or deploy a new link. We’ve also already peered with all of Microsoft’s access points. That means users on the Aryaka network already have a pre-existing route into Office 365 from minute one, without your IT team having to make additional investments.

When it comes to deploying Office 365, you do have to think differently – not about how you might optimize your legacy WAN for a new technology, but about how you can employ next-generation WAN technology to improve your end users’ experience, productivity, and, ultimately, results.

Office 365 deployment doesn’t have to be complicated. Contact Aryaka today to see the difference for yourself.

About the author

Mouli Radhakrishnan
Mouli is Vice President of Product Management at Aryaka Networks, and leads the technology process for strategic customer opportunities and business development partnerships.