In order to maintain high customer responsiveness, increase sales, and reduce wide area network costs and complexities, large-scale retailers are turning to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) systems. SD- WANs run on virtualized servers that deliver high availability and agile branch office connectivity. Intel® Network Builders partner Lanner Inc. recently worked with SD-WAN expert 128 Technology to deliver SD-WAN for 5,000 stores of a nationwide auto parts retailer.
The growing trends of cloud computing, Big Data, mobile applications and globalized enterprises have contributed to the rising demands of real-time applications, with successful examples such as Work From Home, remote desktop, video conferencing, telemedicine and third-party payments. However, latency and interruptions between networking nodes are currently the primary challenges, as network traffics continue to grow exponentially from B2B/B2C e-commerce and other real-time applications. To meet the demands for QoS (quality of service), SD-WAN has emerged as a performance-boosting and cost-effective solution.
For the past couple years, SD-WAN has been the remedy to networking challenges in various fields, such as medical, emergency rescue, retain and so forth, making it one of the fastest-growing technologies in decades. Indeed, the ease of deployments, simplified maintenance and application-prioritized performance have helped businesses improve productivity and reduce overhead. In fact, even construction industries can benefit from SD-WAN.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, many municipal and national governments have imposed lockdown policies, forcing their people to stay home. Companies with branches worldwide have already instructed their employees to work from home for a certain period of time. However, the cure of the pandemic is still under experiment without a definite release date, the challenges regarding working from in terms of connectivity, bandwidth and security to ensure business continuity will remain.
Retail chains all over the world have been investigating network transformation in order to improve customer experience and reduce overhead. Retail services today have evolved to be more and more diversified, including virtual fitting room in fast fashion trends, online demo video of suites in hotels and real estates, as well as real-time inventory checks for clerks and customers. All these newly innovated services need a better bandwidth, more cost-effective WAN architecture to meet customer satisfaction.
Retail chains today have shown growing reliance on advanced IT technologies to manage their inventories, transaction records and customer database. In particular, the global-scale retail chains may generate high-volume of transactions and customer data on a daily basis, and they have to manage inventory records in their warehouses worldwide. However, retail chains face the challenges in their network architecture. Traditionally, retailers rely on vendor-specific, disparate networking equipment and software, and therefore, OPEX have obviously increased when they expand in locations.
Cloud computing is no longer a new buzzword, and in fact, cloud computing is approaching to its next evolution: cloud-first strategy. By definition, it specifies all the business networking activities are conducted in the cloud first. Cloud-first strategy makes practical senses for global enterprises with branches worldwide so that employees can synchronize from mobile devices and remote locations. In fact, organizations with initiatives for cloud-first strategy are requiring a virtualized, automated, and agile network orchestration to easily manage their IT infrastructure, in order to manage the increasing traffics on the cloud and their applications. Thus, SD-WAN has become the optimal choice as it also comes with the capability in securing business applications.