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WAN is the new LAN

by Andrew Lerner  |  May 22, 2014  |  2 Comments


The traditional enterprise WAN architecture is not ideally suited for adoption of cloud-based IaaS and SaaS applications, due to increased latency and the cost of back-hauling traffic to centralized  data centers. While carriers are providing direct connectivity to some  cloud providers, this increases lock-in and doesn’t cover all use-cases. To help address this issue, we can look to the past….back in the 90s, the concept of “Telecom Hotels” rose to popularity. Telecom Hotels were an option for very large corporations to get high-speed and lower latency connectivity to the Internet backbone (i.e., rather than going thru an Inet carrier, connect directly into the peering exchange facilities).

Nowadays we’re seeing a new alternative WAN architecture emerge which is essentially Telecom Hotels 2.0, which we are calling Communications Hubs. This emerging trend for WAN backbone connectivity is an alternative to traditional corporate Internet/MPLS-based architectures. Perhaps the biggest difference is that these newer communications “hubs” (often carrier-neutral co-location facilities) now contain actual user-facing applications and services  (i.e., SaaS) in addition to just raw connectivity. Thus, we just published the research on this topic:

Communications Hubs Improve WAN Performance

A couple of key takeaways from the research…

  • The adoption of the cloud apps has and will continue to change WAN architectures, so the WAN backbone (in essence) becomes the new data center LAN where high bandwidth, low latency connections are critical.  The WAN is the new LAN.
  • Back hauling traffic between a private MPLS network and the Internet through a data center adds network latency and will drive greater adoption of communication hubs.
  • There are several vendors that offer this approach including established players like Equinix & Coresite and startups like IIX peering.
  • The cost of 1/10/100Gbps network connections will continue to fall 15% per year

Note:  Sorell Slaymaker contributed to this blog entry.

Regards, Andrew (& Sorell)


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Category: networking  wan  

Tags: cloud  coresite  equinix  iaas  iix-peering  mpls  saas  vpn  wan  

Andrew Lerner
Research Vice President
6+ years at Gartner
21 years IT Industry

Andrew Lerner is a Vice President in Gartner Research. He covers enterprise networking, including data center, campus and WAN with a focus on emerging technologies (SDN, SD-WAN, and Intent-based networking). Read Full Bio

Thoughts on WAN is the new LAN

  1. Eureka!! Finally, someone talking sense. We have said all along it is where the data is consumed that is important not where it is stored. WIth the every growing content size, you need to move it fast. The key to this is large volumes of data where you want it when you want it.

  2. […] Imagine my anticipation as I opened Gartner’s Blog, my eyes instantly drawn to the Batman and Robin illustration. Now this one really caught my attention.   […]

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