You only have to look around you to see how the service delivery landscape is changing. Organisations of all sizes are now choosing to effectively outsource service delivery for a wide range of the tools that users need to go about their day.

With anything from Line of Business shadow IT subscribing to an ‘aaS’ that has become their #1 productivity tool to over 1 billion Office 365 users, the services we consume are no longer hosted exclusively in a single location. They move data outside the traditional network perimeter which raises the question about the constraints of legacy Wide Area Networks (WANs) and the effects they have on user productivity.

Squeezing an increasing volume of data down an already congested MPLS to provide internet breakout at the data centre can have disastrous effects on user experience. Packet inspection, encryption and general network connectivity conditions can easily add enough latency to traffic flows that call quality degrades, video becomes choppy, searches take too long searching and downloads take an eternity.

Old school WANs can’t keep up, the services we all consume are changing so it‘s time to change the way we think about networks.

Software-Defined WANs (SD-WANs) use inexpensive consumer and business grade internet connectivity to intelligently route aaS traffic directly from the branch, allowing a significant growth in bandwidth to support the growing expectations of the users, without costly MPLS upgrades.

A good example of this would be the collaboration of Microsoft and Citrix, to overcome the challenge of user experience for key features of the Office 365 platform. Microsoft recognised that users who had a round trip time of more than 30ms would start to see a degradation in their Quality of Experience, which ultimately resulted in the publication of the Microsoft General Connectivity Principles for Office 365 in November 2108.

Citrix SD-WAN now offers a simple way to securely adhere to the principles with proven cases demonstrating faster online Outlook searches, up to 10x faster downloads from OneDrive and up to +4 on MOS scores but there’s more to Citrix SD-WAN than Office 365 optimisation.

Citrix have combined application analytics, branch and network security, firewall and industry leading SD-WAN traffic management capabilities in a single solution. As a result, Citrix SD-WAN has a broad range of features to help deliver the modern virtual workspace, VDI, traditional data centre hosted and the growing use of cloud based services. The relationship between Microsoft and Citrix is evident here too, with Citrix SD-WAN serving as a default on ramp to Azure’s global network and regional data centres.

By integrating with Azure Virtual WAN, Citrix SD-WAN helps to improve service agility with optimised traffic routes providing cost effective, scalable and reliable connectivity which in turn provides simplified hybrid cloud deployment off Azure based services, faster on-boarding to key applications and workloads, improved security and of course, a better user experience.