Remember when your computer had its own version of Microsoft Office installed on its very own hard disk drive? Opening a Word document or Excel spreadsheet didn’t generally cause you any grief. You’d simply click a button or two, and there it was. It’s the same story with LAN installations. However, those days are largely gone. Today, many enterprises use Microsoft Office 365, a cloud-based solution that allows end-users to access Office software “in the cloud.” There’s no need to install software individually, and the software is always the most current version available. IT no longer needs to apply patches or deal with Office maintenance other than adding or removing end-users. While the theory is good, in practice, it doesn’t always work out so well.
For example, while the cloud is presented as a “global” solution, it’s not exactly global. According to Aryaka Networks, “For most enterprise applications, customer data is still resident in one region, datacenter, or instance. And that ‘instance’ still has all the connectivity and performance issues you would see on an on-premise application.”
In addition, end-users located far from the regional data center experience significant lag times and latency. Users in distant regions such as South Africa, China, Asia-Pacific, Australia, Brazil, and India are not nearly as well-connected as end-users in more technically mature regions such as North America and Europe. Thus, their connections are spotty to begin with. They often rely on public networks to access cloud services such as Office 365, and the results aren’t necessarily pretty.
Cloud-based applications can also negatively impact the WAN in other ways. For example, according to a blog post on Virtela, “Moving from traditional on-premise solutions to SaaS counterparts changes the way traffic flows across a WAN. Routing traffic through a central gateway–sometimes in a data center continents away from users–to access the Internet adds delay and bandwidth constraints.”
In essence, by moving to more cloud-based solutions, organizations are increasing their employees’ need for Internet access. Imagine a typical administrator whose main duties involve using Microsoft Word and Excel to enter figures, write reports and memos, create documents, and so forth. Before deploying Microsoft Office 365, this administrator may have jumped online periodically throughout the day to check email or perform a quick Google search. After deployment, the administrator must be online most of the day. After all, Office 365 is hosted in the cloud. Now multiply this increased Internet usage across the enterprise. As you can imagine, bandwidth requirements go up — as does traffic congestion. Thus, most everyone is adversely affected.
Fortunately, vendors are responding to this problem with smart solutions. Aryaka Networks, for example, offers a “highly intelligent global network complete with TCP optimization, compression, and Advanced Redundancy Removal for de-duplication. Aryaka’s solution optimizes access to Office 365 for remote sites and business users while connecting from global locations.”
What does this all mean? It means that once your WAN has been optimized with Aryaka, end-users around the world can use Office 365 as it was initially conceived. They simply click a few buttons and their documents open up without those long lag times that so many are struggling with. As a result, productivity and morale will improve.
- Virtela, “High Bandwidth Cloud Applications Slamming Network,” – http://www.virtela.net/high-bandwidth-cloud-applications-slamming-network/
- Aryaka, “Accelerating Office 365,” – http://www.aryaka.com/solutions/accelerating-office-365/