Cost-cutting drives corporate WAN strategy

The wide area network (WAN) is not only the circulatory system of the modern data-intensive organisation but also the source of a great deal of frustration according to a survey on the subject by Information Age, in partnership with VPLS (virtual private LAN service) provider Exponential-e.

Two-thirds of respondents expressed frustration with carriers’ bandwidth restrictions, while a quarter were concerned that their network was over-reliant on a single provider and lacked scalability.

Cost was also an issue, with three-quarters of respondents claiming that reducing network expenditure was a key goal, far ahead of potential optimisation goals such as integrating with a disaster recovery policy, offsite storage, enabling software-as-a-service or virtualisation.

It’s not hard to see why cost was such a dramatic influencer of network strategy: almost half said they use (often-expensive) leased lines, while a committed 9% continue to use dated frame relay technology.

Another 17% have embraced VPLS, a new networking technology that mimics an Ethernet-based LAN across a wide area network rather than an IP-based network.

Surprisingly, 90% of respondents have limited or no knowledge of the former protocol, despite many commenting that their ‘ideal WAN’ would resemble a hard-wired LAN and 20% describing VPLS as “the technology that the majority of companies will be using in the future”.

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