The benefits of the cloud are well known and hardly up for debate. Access, agility, elasticity, and lower administration costs are only a few of the ways the cloud can support digital transformation. But if you're looking to offer a better cloud-delivered experience, it's useful to understand the connection between SaaS applications and SD-WAN (Software-defined WAN). Though independent, they can complement each other to deliver a better end-user experience. This blog post will explain why the two are a match made in heaven.

Organizations of all sizes are using or planning to use more and more cloud-delivered applications. Today, cloud-based applications exist to support every function of the business, including CRM, ERP, helpdesk, productivity, and much more. Cloud-based (SaaS-based) communications are no different. According to Gartner, spending on cloud telephony and messaging alone will reach $24 billion in 2023, up from $13.5 billion in 2018. A study commissioned by BetterCloud, a SaaS operations management and security platform provider, revealed that organizations use an average of sixteen business applications delivered from the cloud. Neither supply nor demand for SaaS applications is slowing down, so the onus of managing multiple applications and providing an optimal user experience is mounting for IT and network administrators like never before.

Multiple SaaS applications vying for the same network

The challenge? Sixteen cloud applications vying for access and bandwidth across the same network can become overwhelming. Picture rush hour traffic and everyone trying to move freely through a fixed number of lanes at the same time.

The cloud service provider will play a crucial role in organizing that traffic to ensure delivery of their application workflows. For example, 8x8 applies patented technology such as geo-routing along with FEC (forward error correction) and adaptive jitter buffers upon arrival to ensure quality of service. However, at the user end, there are multiple business applications from different providers that also want to travel across that same network at the same time, which can negatively impact performance. This impact includes cloud-based communication, which is typically considered mission-critical to any business. Essentially, it's like trying to race a Lamborghini Aventador in a busy downtown; it can't get from 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds. While you probably don’t mind a three-second delay in emails or other not-so-latency-sensitive applications, real-time audio and video communications are mandatory.

Why SD-WAN makes sense here

Keeping the traffic analogy in mind, the highway, or end-to-end underlying network connectivity, plays an important role in enhancing the performance. To ensure the right level of performance, you may need a better network with optimized bandwidth allocated to each application, critical or not-so critical. Based on performance, ease to manage, and cost, SD-WAN technology tends to be the solution of choice. In the simplest terms, SD-WAN provides one point to configure and manage your WAN along with a single pane of glass to visualize its performance. One of the key drivers of increasing traction of SD-WAN is that it is agnostic to the underlying physical WAN connections. It forms one logical connection visible to the traffic by aggregating the physical links. SD-WAN enables customers to prioritize traffic based on their business intent. For example, admins can prioritize mission-critical applications such as audio and video conferencing over emails for better QoS (Quality of Service).

Additionally, SD-WAN provides real-time visibility into the network to monitor and manage the traffic dynamically without demanding additional bandwidth. SD-WAN and cloud complement each other in optimizing user experience over the existing network.


8x8’s Managed Technical Service (MTS) can help

There are a plethora of vendors offering SD-WAN capabilities, categorized as pure-play or add-ons. The paradox of choice multiplies with business intent and priorities, including cost, deployment, privacy, and visibility. Though SD-WAN simplifies management of the WAN, understanding, configuring, and managing an SD-WAN may not be feasible for all organizations, especially those with limited IT resources.

To assist those companies with limited resources, 8x8 provides a ''simpler'' approach to deliver the benefits of SD-WAN without the complexities through our Managed Technical Services (MTS).

8x8 MTS combines SD-WAN and 8x8 Premium customer support to deliver assured performance for mission-critical applications over cost-efficient Internet links.

The SD WAN-based portion of the offer includes:

1. An SD-WAN Edge: The network device, compact and easy to configure, works as the sensors on the network, monitoring how the WAN is working and all the applications that are using bandwidth. Deployed at your site, these edge devices are zero-touch deployable. Once connected to the Internet, it can automatically connect, authenticate, and can be configured remotely.

2. SD-WAN Gateways: Hosted off-prem, these gateways dynamically optimize the routes to applications along with delivering network services to and from the cloud. They are highly available, scalable, and can be deployed on-demand. These gateways, connected with network devices, implement dynamic multi-path optimization (DMPO), cloud VPN and Quality of Service (QoS) between cloud and edge at your sites, logically combining multiple broadband links (such as DSL, cable, LTE) and private direct links to appear as one high capacity link.

3. SD-WAN Orchestrator: A web-based centralized monitoring tool offers a single pane of glass to view, configure, report and manage the performance of the entire network. Based on the business policy, orchestrator enables traffic prioritization and management, ensuring the real-time traffic, video and voice traffic, in this case, gets the required bandwidth.

The support component of MTS includes 8x8 premium customer support. Combining network optimization technology and support with a communications platform means one partner for managing and ensuring the quality of service for your critical voice and video communication capabilities. MTS support includes:

  • Front of Line Pass to expedite handling and priority routing for web and phone cases
  • Accelerated Response to provide quicker engagement
  • Live Chat with experts to get answers or open a support case
  • 24 x 7 support portal for submitting and reviewing case status, news, and alerts and featured tips
  • Network health check-up every six months
  • Customer community for product documentation, FAQs
  • Whether you have multiple sites or a distributed workforce to support, the need for effective communication and collaboration experiences is more pivotal than ever before. Cloud-delivered services make it much easier to grow and support your employees and customers with the tools they need to deliver those experiences. Don't let your network disappoint you. To learn more about how to optimize your network for SaaS applications, including voice, video, chat, and contact center communications, contact an 8x8 specialist.