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VMware: Network optimisation for a modern and future world
Traditionally applications were delivered from a central location(s) to several distributed offices that were fixed and changed infrequently. This meant a hub and spoke-based wide area network (WAN) using relatively expensive and fixed bandwidth, but secure and reliable, dedicated network connections between branch offices and the headquarters location(s) were the norm. This solution served us well given the application delivery architecture delivering security and reliability at a price.
Things have changed and continue to change. Applications are now delivered from various locations as we consume more SaaS applications (eg. Office 365, MS Teams, Salesforce, WorkDay, etc, etc) and other applications are migrated to the cloud. The way that we work has also changed with the ever-increasing demand to work from anywhere rather than insisting that we must travel to an office location to be able to work. The recent pandemic has significantly accelerated some of these changes that were already happening pre-pandemic.
Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SDWAN) delivers software-defined networking that can react quickly to changing demand with centrally managed monitoring tools that can detect changing demands and problems and react to them quickly as well as provide remote remediation of problems. Using multiple broadband connections with the intelligent dynamic routing of traffic with built-in security allows for enhanced performance (and so user experience and productivity) at the same time as maintaining or enhancing security and reducing cost, Surrey and Sussex Police saw an increase in network speeds of up to 10x and a reduction in operational costs of 50% when deploying SDWAN. Central orchestration of edge devices allows for more rapid deployment and removes the need for a technical specialist at the location to do the installation. This also helps to reduce costs but also opens the possibility to rapidly deploy pop-up locations to give an organisation enhanced agility.
This was the case for the Department of Work and Pensions during the pandemic when demands on the services they provided were unpredictable and changing rapidly. Surrey and Sussex Police are even experimenting with SDWAN edge devices in police vehicles to effectively provide an office on wheels increasing the connectivity of officers in the vicinity of the vehicle while increasing security and reducing the footprint of equipment in the vehicle.
Delivering these solutions via an SME allows the SME to add value in terms of customer knowledge and insights and/or specific skills or services. In the case of DWP UDBS provided an existing trusted relationship with the customer and detailed knowledge and understanding of the customer. Backed up by training, certification and professional services from VMware they provided the customer’s preferred delivery vehicle. In the case of Surrey and Sussex Police, the opportunity was identified by a VMware partner, Softcat, and we worked together to develop the opportunity. The inclusion of Breeze Networks, an SME, brought the skills and experience of delivering and deploying SDWAN together with a flexible managed service, that could be tailored to the customer’s needs, this gave the agility needed to enable 176 circuits over 107 sites to be migrated in 238 working days. More importantly, the police forces had a platform to enable growing demand for cloud, video and collaboration services and location flexibility.
In conclusion, the way we deliver and consume applications is changing. This means we need to rethink how we deliver secure corporate networks. SDWAN allows us to respond rapidly to the changing demands on the network as well as drive cost efficiencies and enhance user experience and productivity securely and reliably. Engaging with SMEs to deliver the solutions brings additional skills, experience, knowledge and services allowing a solution to be tailored for the individual customers' needs as well as more agile delivery.
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Sean Harris is a Principal Business Solutions Strategist within the Advisory Services Consulting Practice at VMware in EMEA. He is responsible for delivering high value enterprise strategy consulting to help CIOs, CTOs, CDOs and their executive stakeholders to accelerate business transformation through technology. Connect with Sean Harris.
On Tuesday 5 April, techUK was delighted to host the Cabinet Office and industry representatives for the launch event for the UK Government’s Digital, Data and Technology Sourcing Playbook which was published on 28 March 2022. The DDaT Sourcing Playbook sets out guidance – in one place – as to how digital projects and programmes are assessed, procured and delivered in central government departments, arms-length bodies and the wider public sector. Through the application of what is commercial best practice, the Playbook addresses 11 key policies and six cross-cutting priorities that will ensure government gets things right from the start when it comes to procurement.
You can watch the recording of the launch event in full here:
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