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Which Way to the Cloud-Ready WAN?

The movement to cloud-based services is well underway, with Gartner predicting that SaaS or cloud-based deployments will reach 50% of all CRM deployments by 20161. Yet most corporate WANs are still built for the pre-cloud world, focusing mainly on efficient data transmission between branches, headquarters and data centers. Essentially, the “historical” corporate WAN was optimized for transferring information between physical locations owned or rented by the enterprise.

But as we all know, the world has changed. So when examining how the WAN architecture should change along with it, we find inherent trade-offs between centralizing and distributing functionality.

With the central approach, all Internet-destined traffic is backhauled through a firewall at a central location. This “hub and spoke” design is straightforward to secure, but the inevitable backhauling is sub-optimal in an environment where cloud services are important (note a branch in Los Angeles accessing a service in Seattle through a data center in New York).

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