It seems over the past few years the world has gone software defined crazy. We have software-defined networks, security, data centers, WANs, storage and almost anything else one can think of.
However, the one area that seems to have been forgotten about is the remote and mobile worker, as the benefits of software-defined haven’t reached the billions of employees that work from their homes, road, hotels, airports and coffee shops. Considering the primary value proposition of most software-defined things is to improve application performance, it seems odd that no vendor has found a way to bring these benefits to an audience that comprises nearly 40 percent of the workforce today.
This week, Aryaka changed that when it announced SmartACCESS, a clientless SD-WAN product designed specifically for remote workers. The solution is composed of the following components that improve the performance of apps from the remote worker all the way to the company’s data center.
- First-mile optimization includes a dynamic CDN and intelligent DNS-based routing that automatically routes users to the closest POP and provides real-time IP application acceleration, as well as integrated first-mile WAN optimization.
- Middle-mile optimization from routing remote worker traffic over Aryaka’s global private network composed of 28 PoPs on six continents. WAN optimization is also applied here to optimized TCP traffic, reduce the actual traffic sent over the network and accelerate application delivery
- Last-mile optimization through a combination of dynamic CDN and global load balancing to enable mobile employees to use a single domain name to connect to VPN concentrators without having to change local settings or worry about where they are. (Typically, users travelling overseas need to figure out local VPN settings, creating high levels of frustration. This overburdens the help desk because this isn’t a simple process for the average employee.)
SmartACCESS is easy setup and use
One of the strengths of SmartACCESS is that it’s delivered as a service, requires very little work on the part of the IT department, and has nothing for the end user to do. Remote and mobile workers continue to use their existing VPN client, like they always have, except there’s no reason to ever go in and fiddle with settings. IT makes one CNAME change to DNS records to route the traffic over Aryaka’s network, and that’s it. The service could easily be rolled out to a global organization in a matter of hours. Because SmartACCESS is delivered as a service, customers get the benefit of Aryaka’s 24x7x365 CCIE level support.
In addition to improving application performance for remote workers, there are a couple of other benefits that businesses will realize.
First, because users are routed over the Aryaka network to VPN concentrators, there is no requirement for companies to deploy concentrators all over the world. In a pre-briefing, Aryaka described the implementation for its customer Platform Specialty Products Corporation that rolled out SmartACCESS for its remote and mobile employees and said the company consolidated the number of VPN concentrators down from 50 to four globally, resulting in a savings of $100,000 annually.
In addition to the cost savings, the company saw the productivity of its sales, marketing and IT departments increase by 20-30 percent because of improved application performance.
Another benefit is that the solution is significantly more secure than traditional remote access products because the traffic traverses Aryaka’s private, global network and not the Internet. Also, each PoP is outfitted with state-of-the-art redundant firewalls. Just to add a belt to the suspenders, SmartACCESS encrypts traffic end to end.
The price of SmartACCESS starts at $30 per user per month and can go as low as $15, depending on the number of users that are provisioned. Considering mobile WAN optimization clients cost as much as $100 per user per month, and SmartACCESS has integrated WAN optimization, it seems like a very reasonable price.
More than ever, workers need to be able to work from anywhere, making remote access a mission-critical service. However, for many workers, particularly those overseas, network latency kills application performance, which in turn kills productivity. SD-WANs have solved this problem for branch workers, and now Aryaka’s SmartACCESS can have a similar impact on mobile workers.