By Erik Thoen
Digital transformation is a very appealing concept, but the devil is in the details. Digital technologies are often deployed in the cloud, so customers with distributed remote operations frequently come to us with challenges related to reliability, cost, and performance.
When CIOs are transforming their network, they should be acutely aware of the resiliency, bandwidth efficiency, and performance of the networking platform.
Cloud computing is a key enabler of many digital transformation use-cases and delivers numerous benefits. For instance, businesses need to adapt to changes and competition quickly, and a cloud-based approach provides enormous agility. Instead of physically deploying and manually configuring a server on-site, in a cloud framework compute resources can be added remotely and quickly via automation.
The cloud is also an ideal place for data analysis because computational resources can be dynamically allocated as new data sets arrive. Once the analysis is complete, storing results in a central, commonly accessible location improves collaboration across an enterprise.
For many business sectors, digital transformation entails connecting remote operations to the cloud. Industrial enterprises, especially in the areas of energy, mining, and construction, often have widely distributed and mobile infrastructure. A large fraction of operational costs are related to headcount at these remote sites to maintain operations. One of the largest transformation opportunities delivering a rapid payback is reducing the on-site staff associated with these remote locations.
Often the data necessary for operating, maintaining, or diagnosing remote operations can be transferred to a cloud. Instead of sending a person on-site, an employee working from an office or home anywhere in the world can address an issue.
The key challenge is getting the data to the cloud. Often these remote operations are truly isolated, like extracting oil at sea, mining from a mountain, or building a new road through the desert.
In contrast to the high quality and low cost broadband available for retail locations in the center of a city, remote sites may be limited to unreliable, expensive, and potentially poor quality satellite, line-of-site RF, or LTE connections. These wireless connections are often sensitive to weather, electrical interference, or shared usage, all of which can lead to loss of connectivity to the cloud.
Further, with the high cost of this connectivity, inefficient bandwidth usage either means less data is sent to the cloud or the enterprise pays for more bandwidth.
Finally, for many of these connections, especially satellite, the latency and packet loss can be much higher compared to fiber links, which may dramatically reduce throughput, especially for TCP.
Without solutions to all of these problems, a remote operations transformation initiative can be plagued with challenges.
Based on testing and deployments with several customers at 128 Technology, we’ve identified solutions for all of these problems with our Session Smart Router.
First, we’ve addressed the challenges of poor connectivity by providing session migration and duplication across multiple paths. Sessions are the method for endpoints to interact with applications, so a session-aware router is able to better maintain each remote application session with service-specific policies.
Second, by using Secure Vector Routing to replace encapsulation protocols, we save greater than 30% of the bandwidth as illustrated below. With this overhead reduction an enterprise could send more valuable data from the remote site to the cloud, or save money by purchasing lower-bandwidth connections.
Finally, the router uses session optimization, which automatically detects high latency or loss across the path and optimizes the transport protocol to fully utilize the available bandwidth.
For some customers this has resulted in up to a 10x increase in throughput across satellite links, eliminated capital expenditures on separate optimization components, or dramatically lowered operational expenditures by removing optimization add-ons purchased from the service provider.
Digital transformation takes many forms, but enabling remote operations with the cloud can be particularly challenging for IT organizations. Achieving distributed transformation requires overcoming connectivity challenges, bandwidth costs, and performance impairments.
The 128 Technology Session Smart Router enables distributed transformation by providing session resiliency, saving considerable bandwidth with Secure Vector Routing, and operating efficiently across the most challenging links with session optimization.
Erik Thoen is Vice President, Product Management at 128 Technology
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