“Internet-only” eclipsing “internet-first” at largest enterprises
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

The rate of technological change where enterprise networking is concerned seems to accelerate at an ever-faster pace with each passing year. Just a half decade ago, for instance, “cloud-first” (or “Internet-first”) networking – that is, when a business begins leveraging network connectivity that prioritizes cloud and “direct-to-internet” workflows over legacy, hardware-defined networking tech – was still an emerging trend.

Now, even “internet-first” networking has been usurped by “internet-only” connectivity, where the entire operation strives to unload bulky connectivity (think MPLS connections and hub-and-spoke architectures) for wholesale direct-to-internet access at every juncture.

What differentiates internet-only from internet-first is subtle but important: Companies that fall into the former category are striving for hardware-free network infrastructures, not the hybrid network configurations that many businesses leverage at the start of their digital transformation.

For many of the largest enterprises, this shift makes perfect sense. After all, according to Cisco, 80 percent of enterprise employees and customers either work in branch offices or are served by them – proof positive that “enterprise decentralization” has graduated from a trend to a business norm. Because the internet is ubiquitous, every branch location already partners with an ISP that can facilitate delivery paths over the internet. In this sense, direct-to-internet is easy for IT to deploy alongside a VPN, while the cost-to-bandwidth ratio compared to dedicated MPLS connectivity is also significantly lower.

The trouble with switching from network pathways that enterprise IT owned and controlled outright (ie. MPLS) for access over the public Internet is that the latter essentially represents a global third-party network that no one owns or controls. While enterprise IT could historically zero-in on a defined MPLS pathway between two sets of users or locations to investigate performance issues, without performance monitoring, teams lose this ingrained visibility with direct-to-internet.

Making sure that users enjoy the benefits of direct-to-internet connectivity calls for comprehensive monitoring at all times – especially in the midst of any network rearchitecting or transformation. This requires a solution that can collect a diverse array of data to help support a multitude of IT functions during (and beyond) any network updates, all with a focus on end-user experience.

While there are many active and passive technologies that teams can leverage to monitor network performance, it’s important that enterprise IT doesn’t bog the network down with additional solutions that eat up network capacity (and ultimately eat into the UX benefits that teams are striving for with internet-only architectures in the first place).


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Filed Under: Performance Monitoring

Tags: cloud computing , cloud first , internet only , internet first , cloud migration , enterprise WAN , cloud computing , digital transformation , network performance monitoring