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Using the Internet for Your Enterprise WAN

Internet for your Enterprise WANYou want to do what?

Enterprise networks are special.  They require bomb-proof design, micro-second convergence and service-level agreements so good that the WAN will only be down for half a second every year scheduled six weeks ahead of time for midnight over a holiday weekend.  That’s what we’re taught from the time we’re young Network Engineers sitting on our parents’ knees.  An Enterprise network is something special they taught us.  We should never consider running our mission-critical traffic over the dirty, unreliable Internet!  Such talk would be blasphemy akin to looking for a date at a funeral.  It might work for some, but our network is special and must be treated that way.

So what is all of this talk then, coming from Cisco no less, of using Internet links to run an Enterprise-class network?  Cisco recently introduced the Intelligent WAN (IWAN) solution that promotes exactly this sort of “illicit” behavior.  So what’s changed?

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A Brave New World for IT: Internet as WAN

Today’s IT organizations are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Most face an avalanche of new bandwidth requirements hitting their networks, yet too few resources to support the business’ needs.  In 2013, three out of four organizations will not have any additional wide area network (WAN) budget (Nemertes Research). That means 75% of IT teams will not be able to buy more bandwidth to address exponential traffic growth, and will need to re-think their entire approach to the network if they want stay successful.  Treading water will not be an option.

Here is a sampling of the trends that are challenging IT now:

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