Our networking analyst, Bob Laliberte, has recently written about connectivity and experience. In today’s networking world, connecting end-users to a network is simply not enough. The focus is shifting to end-user experience once connected to that network.
Those who connect to some network daily know what I mean. I’ve had to connect to our network and edit documents while on the road. I’ve been in a running store wanting to buy some gear, but because I was overwhelmed with choices, I checked online reviews before I made my purchase. Most times, I have had no issue. But there have been times when the experience of trying to do my work or get information became frustrating. In most cases, I gave up and went elsewhere, just so that I could find a place with “good” connectivity.
The point is this…even if I could connect to a network successfully, that wouldn’t matter if the application I was accessing didn’t respond in the way I expected—I should be able to do what I want with no delay, no application hanging, no restarting of my device. And I need to know that no one will be snooping into my data while online.
And that is the point of Bob’s blog. Once I connect to a network, I want my experience to be flawless. For my previous examples, it was just frustrating, no harm, no foul. But what if I were a salesperson and had to get some information from salesforce.com that would be critical in closing a deal, right before meeting a client, and couldn’t? And what if I wanted to load my Starbuck’s mobile app with money from my credit card, and I found out later that my credit card account was hacked? (I would be, at the least, somewhat unhappy.) In both cases, someone is losing money. The consequences are real.
One company that we have recently evaluated is CloudGenix, which promotes its AppFabric SD-WAN solution as application-centric; instead of focusing on traditional metrics such as packet loss and latency, CloudGenix’s solution enables IT to manage app metrics such as server and app response times. You can read my Technical Review of the solution here.
It will be interesting to see how other SD-WAN vendors—and for that matter, networking vendors—embrace this new customer landscape. It has been emerging, albeit slowly. However, managing end-user experience may be the next true differentiator as we continue to examine how networking vendors address this.