For enterprises in performance-intensive industries, the ability to ensure fast, uninterrupted access and availability for key applications and content is critical. Disruptions and lags can impact everything from business performance and revenues to customer loyalty and satisfaction. This is why tens of thousands of enterprises are running multi-homed (aka “multi-carrier”) networks — to try to increase the likelihood of better speed and availability for their business-critical apps. The problem is, manual management of multiple carrier networks is complex, costly and time consuming.
The next step for these enterprises is to overcome the inherent performance limitations of the Internet’s “best effort” standard routing technology, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). Both software-defined WAN and route optimization use software to improve routing decisions across a wide area network. As a core component of an SD-WAN framework, route optimization simplifies network management and ultimately maximizes reliability, availability and performance. In this slideshow, global hosting provider Internap walks through the shortcomings of BGP, the ways route optimization can lead to better-performing applications, and the use cases that can benefit most from this switch.
Using Route Optimization to Improve App Performance
Click through for more on the shortcomings of BGP, the ways route optimization can lead to better-performing applications, and the use cases that can benefit most from this switch, as identified by Internap.
The Importance of Performance
Many mission-critical applications in use by enterprises today, such as Big Data analytics platforms, financial trading applications, SaaS-based services, retail, ecommerce, and online gaming applications, hosting environments, and video collaboration tools, can falter noticeably with latency, which can lead to lost revenue and productivity, as well as frustrated customers.
Just two seconds of delay in website performance means 4 percent fewer customer conversions, according to an Aberdeen Group report, “Optimizing the Performance of Web Applications.” Additionally, a Compuware survey conducted by Vanson Bourne revealed that 58 percent of enterprises are slowing their adoption of cloud-based applications because of performance concerns.
Poor performance, latency and jitter can have even more drastic consequences for cutting-edge technologies — for example, in fields like telesurgery, where even a millisecond of lag would be extremely dangerous.
The Limits of BGP
It’s no secret that BGP wasn’t designed for performance; rather, it ensures that Internet traffic is directed over the shortest distance, which is not necessarily the fastest, best-performing or most cost-effective path. When BGP was implemented in the early days of the Internet, it wasn’t designed with mission-critical applications in mind — it prioritizes reliability and availability over speed, which was understandable at the time but inadequate today for many enterprise uses. In order to overcome this, enterprises are putting multi-homed networks in place. By leveraging the paths of multiple ISPs, network engineers have more routing options available to them for delivering traffic quickly and cost-effectively. They also gain more redundancy – traffic can be rerouted to other carriers in the case of an outage by one provider.
But managing traffic volume, latency and cost in a multi-homed environment is a manual process, and when multiple ISPs are involved, diagnosing and troubleshooting problems and implementing solutions can be difficult and time consuming.
Enter Route Optimization
Software-defined WAN and route optimization were developed as proactive ways to address performance inefficiencies and simplify network management. Using software to address the inherent complications of a multi-homed network can prevent Internet service bottlenecks from ballooning into business disasters.
Route optimization solutions monitor service levels across the routes of multiple carriers and alternate paths for traffic and assert routing entries consistent with the principles of business continuity. On-premise route control appliances use dynamic network analysis to provide real-time route optimization, which can be used to proactively reduce the risk of jitter, latency and outages that can affect productivity and revenue. They also allow enterprises to cut down on the human hours required to oversee and optimize the network manually — a task that is automated by the software.
Improved Network Visibility
As well as risk avoidance, route optimization systems provide insight into network performance, traffic distribution and costs, allowing for more visibility into a network’s current state, including transparency into carrier commit levels and ISP performance indexed by price.
This kind of granular visibility into the network makes for easier troubleshooting and allows enterprises to knowledgeably fine-tune parameters to achieve the desired combination of performance and cost.