Embarking on a Cloud Journey? Don’t Forget to add an SD-WAN Multicloud Strategy!

When selecting a SD-WAN provider for their multicloud strategy, organizations must ensure it offers simplified connectivity to different cloud providers with automation, all while delivering the best user experience from anywhere.

Kumar Ramachandran

March 28, 2022

5 Min Read
Embarking on a Cloud Journey? Don’t Forget to add an SD-WAN Multicloud Strategy!
(Source: Pixabay)

Cloud adoption has become mandatory. The explosion in remote and hybrid workforce expedited the push to leverage public cloud services and migrate business applications to the cloud. As a result, secure access service edge (SASE) and SD-WAN multicloud have become de-facto solutions to connect remote users and branches to applications. However, current SASE solutions deliver cloud connectivity at added costs and complexity. In this article, Palo Alto Networks’ SVP of SASE, Kumar Ramachandran, shares why an SD-WAN multicloud strategy is necessary to connect branch users to applications and data from anywhere securely.  

Cloud Initiatives are Skyrocketing to Enable a Hybrid Workforce

As we enter into the post-pandemic era,  organizations are now embracing a hybrid model - with employees working remotely a few days and from branch offices other days. A recent ESG Research Report indicates 63% of employees currently working in a hybrid model will remain unchanged even after the pandemic restrictions are fully lifted. Regardless of where employees are located, cloud adoption enables companies to be more agile, efficient, and flexible – indicative of why 92% of all enterprises are now adopting a multicloud strategy (Flexera, 2021).

Growing multicloud requirements have led businesses to transform their branch infrastructure. Major industry analysts like Gartner recognize this shift - stating, “By 2025, to deliver flexible, cost-effective, scalable bandwidth, 40% of enterprise locations will have only internet WAN connectivity, compared with 15% in 2021”. Therefore, organizations now need to provide secure and consistent connections for their branch users as they access the cloud to ensure productivity. 

Legacy Solutions Severely Limits Cloud Adoption

Businesses are looking for a multicloud strategy that utilizes different cloud providers, like Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure, to best fit their specific needs. Companies can leverage the best features from several providers without being limited to one provider's cloud infrastructure. Unfortunately, their traditional WAN architecture backhauling traffic into centralized datacenters has significant challenges in their cloud journey.

Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) has helped solve some of these problems with better traffic engineering, direct internet access, and improved visibility for cloud applications. Yet, when it comes to multicloud connectivity, organizations are forced to use manual operations that often require a team of cloud experts, resulting in added cost and complexity. Performing such manual operations over hundreds or even thousands of branches across multiple cloud services becomes extremely time-consuming, making cloud deployments incredibly hard to scale.

A Next-Gen SD-WAN Solution Is Needed

It’s clear that businesses now need a seamless solution to run and manage their applications across multiclouds while enabling branch-to-cloud connectivity to cloud providers. They require a robust solution capable of fully automating cloud connectivity at the branch without needing to incorporate additional resources.

Palo Alto Networks Prisma SD-WAN, the industry’s first next-generation SD-WAN solution, simplifies and further automates integrating cloud services like AWS, Google, and Azure to reduce operational complexity while significantly improving user experience. Prisma SD-WAN delivers turn-key integration with cloud providers using CloudBlades, a unique API-based architecture that allows you to simply integrate necessary branch services. By seamlessly providing comprehensive branch services, like multicloud, security, and operations, with zero service disruptions, CloudBlades reduces manual operations significantly. This means that enterprises can simplify and fully automate their cloud connectivity across branch sites securely, at no added costs.

Why Building an SD-WAN Multicloud Strategy Makes Sense for Your Enterprise

Cloud initiatives have transformed how businesses stay connected. While some companies view cloud adoption as disaster recovery to their traditional data centers, most are making it mainstream for their day-to-day operations. With SD-WAN, connecting to different cloud providers is no longer a daunting task for businesses but a gradual extension of their digital transformation.

Leveraging an SD-WAN multicloud for enterprise connectivity offers many benefits:

  • Simplify operations, as cloud connectivity becomes fully automated and monitored. IT administrators can now quickly connect branch offices to the cloud without any expertise.

  • Complete visibility from users to branches to the cloud that enables faster problem resolution and ensures consistent connectivity to applications and workloads.

  • Higher resiliency using capabilities such as traffic engineering, redundancy, failover, and SLA-based steering is now available in the cloud, ensuring better network and application availability anywhere.

  • Improved user experience for business and cloud applications. With a direct-to-app approach, a SD-WAN multicloud ensures low latency and high-performance connectivity to all applications.

  • Exceptional enterprise connectivity - as the cloud expands globally, their infrastructure becomes a global backbone that enterprises can leverage to connect their enterprise end to end without additional deployments.

When building an SD-WAN multicloud strategy, organizations should look for a comprehensive and unified solution that converges security and networking to enable simpler management and faster deployments for their NOC and SOC teams. Customers leveraging SD-WAN should always prioritize performance and visibility that is critical to their employee's productivity regardless of where they are located. Using disparate systems and point products not only limits cloud initiatives but also expands the threat landscape that can cripple cloud initiatives. A single-vendor, cloud-delivered SASE solution ensures enterprises are secured and can connect seamlessly across cloud providers to provide the best user experience.

Key Takeaways

To maintain flexibility, business agility, and stay competitive, organizations should leverage several cloud services without adding more point products and disjointed solutions. When selecting a SD-WAN provider for their multicloud strategy, organizations must ensure it offers simplified connectivity to different cloud providers with automation, all while delivering the best user experience from anywhere. 

Learn more at paloaltonetworks.com

About the Author(s)

Kumar Ramachandran

Kumar Ramachandran serves as Senior Vice President of Products for Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) products at Palo Alto Networks. Kumar co-founded CloudGenix in March 2013 and was its CEO, establishing the SD-WAN category. Prior to founding CloudGenix, Kumar held leadership roles in Product Management and Marketing for the multi-billion dollar branch routing and WAN optimization businesses at Cisco. Prior to Cisco, he managed applications and infrastructure for companies such as Citibank and Providian Financial. Kumar holds an MBA from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Bombay.

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