What’s Beyond SD-WAN? A Managed Services Delivery Platform
A few years ago, my son and I decided to build our own computer. We were looking for a fun project we could do together that involved technology. We needed a new family computer, and I felt that if we built one, we would have a platform that could be modified and updated to meet our needs in the years ahead.
We started with the chassis, mother board and processor. With that in place, we moved along to select our disk drives, memory, fans, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and operating system. I wanted to make sure my son was involved in these decisions so we researched them together and shopped around for good prices, which took some time, but we were enjoying the project and the time together.
The day finally came when we had everything assembled. We powered up our computer and the fan whirled, a few of the LED lights flashed, and nothing else happened. We found out that the motherboard and core processor were incompatible. The one thing we trusted the first vendor to provide, without doing any research, didn’t work. Fortunately, we were able to find a new vendor who got us up and running on a platform that provided for greater expansion, scale, and flexibility than the first vendor provided. We now have a very powerful and versatile home computer that can be readily modified and updated to meet our needs well into the future.
I thought about this project as I sat down to write this blog, because I think the same basic principles that enabled our success will also enable Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to navigate the digital transformation occurring in their industry today.
Keep your long term objectives and strategy in mind
Look beyond the immediate need, take an open platform approach to ensure flexibility, agility, and scale well into the future
Focus on selecting strong partners and the right technology for long term success
The Problem Is Complex – Design for Simplicity John Barnhardt, VP of Business Product Development at GCI, recently shared in a Light Reading article, GCI Takes SD-WAN to Pacific Northwest that CSPs are in the middle of a fairly significant transition or disruption in terms of needing to become more flexible and responsive in the way they deliver services to market. Many service providers are finding themselves in uncharted waters. They are looking to diversify business models, and create new value in an era of dramatically rising network traffic, enterprise multicloud application use, mobile connectivity, and growing global competition.
The problem is complex. CSPs need to break the dependence on mere connectivity, while transforming the market of Enterprise Network Services to offer their customers a broad portfolio of contextual services. Many are looking to new technologies like SDN and NFV for solutions. However, those of us, who have been in networking for a while, know all too well that introducing new technology into a complex environment rarely simplifies the situation.
Enter SD-WAN SD-WAN offers a number of benefits to both CSPs and Enterprise organizations. For the CSP, SD-WAN simplifies the deployment, delivery, and management of WAN connectivity services. It also allows CSPs to capitalize on the opportunity to securely connect Enterprises to multicloud. In an age where the number of WAN connections is rapidly increasing, the need for integrated security is paramount, and CSPs are looking for ways to cut cost through automation. SD-WAN is the perfect choice. In fact, in a recent press release by GCI, they communicated that their CloudFlex® SD-WAN solution is an easily configurable, cloud-based networking solution that empowers business across the U.S. to spend less time managing complex networking technology and more time focusing on their core business.
While SD-WAN will certainly help CSPs and Enterprise organizations solve their WAN connectivity challenges. CSPs need to be thinking long term. They need to consider their long term business strategy as they work through their solution and vendor selection process. Yes, SD-WAN will help CSPs to compete more effectively, and even grow revenues in a stagnant WAN market. However, in order to create new revenue streams and remain competitive in a global market where competitors can delivery services over-the-top, CSPs need to be thinking about how they will deliver a broad portfolio, a market place of managed services, that can be provided on top of their SD-WAN solution.
Think beyond SD-WAN – Think Managed Services Platform For this leading service providers like GCI are looking to vendors like Juniper Networks to help them create their own platform for managed services delivery. With GCI CloudFlex®, GCI plans to deliver SD-WAN, managed Wi-Fi, data recovery and backup, advanced security features, network performance monitoring, managed voice and video conferencing, and other scalable cloud solutions. Additionally, GCI CloudFlex equips businesses with GCI Hub, a digital dashboard that allows business to monitor many GCI services and network performance, to receive support and to maximize operational efficiencies. Businesses are able to expand and contract services almost instantly. [GCI launches CloudFlex® SD-WAN as a managed service to empower business to focus on what they do be...
By focusing on more than just SD-WAN and selecting a vendor with an open approach to networking, GCI was able to develop and deploy a managed service delivery platform that delivers SD-WAN today, simplifies their deployment model, and has the potential to do much more for their customers in the future.
In today’s market, survival will require the ability to out maneuver the competition, a maniacal focus on simplicity, reducing complexity wherever possible to increase agility and provide greater adaptability to change, and strong partnerships that enable success.
Therefore, isn’t time you thought about how complicated your operations environment will become if you leverage point solutions for every managed service you deploy? Perhaps it’s time to have a conversation with Juniper Networks.