Ask the Experts: How Critical is WAN Design to Cloud-Hosted Apps?

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle talks about the importance of WAN design when hosting applications in the cloud with Matrix’s CEO Neely Loring. Find out more about successfully implementing customer applications from Neely and the Matrix team here:

Andrew: All right. Time for another Ask the Experts session, guys. We’ve been talking about Advanced Data Networking and way down the road here at this certification track. I’m excited about inviting back to the studio one of our go-to smart guys, good friend of Intelisys, and a long-time member of the faculty here at the University: Mr. Neely Loring, CEO of Matrix. Neely, welcome back, man.
Neely: Thanks, Andrew. Appreciate it.
Andrew: Always good to have you. We’re talking about wide area networks here and the next generation of networks. Now, Matrix is not a network provider, but it’s interesting. Matrix won’t perform very well unless the underlying network is designed appropriately. I wanted to get your take on that, because how you design a wide area network is not just speeds and feeds and bits and bytes. A lot of it is around applications. In your case, many of those applications, if not all of them, can be hosted in your cloud environment. Talk about how applications should be driving the discussion around wide area network design.
Neely: I think the really important thing to understand–you’re right, we don’t provide the network itself but it is probably one of the most critical parts. If you think about it, it doesn’t matter how great your data center is, how great your cloud, how great your applications are. If you can’t get there, and get there reliably, then it’s no good. The customer’s frustrated. It’s out of your control.
One of the cool things about our partner base is they have a good sense of the products that are available. We have a team dedicated for networking and it’s part of the spec–each deal is different. That’s why we look at each deal and accustom the 80/20 rule that we talked about. 80% of the deals are the same. That other 20%, we need to really take a look at for the customer.
There are specific apps, for example, especially ones that have a distributed model so that there may be something actually happening at the customer’s premise and happening at the data center that will really get sensitive around latency. Heavy back-end SQL server-type applications, or especially home-grown applications, are all going to be indicators on the front end that, “Hey, we need to really design the network piece of this.”
Andrew: Yep. Makes sense. I mean, the other big implication is their mobile users. If you’ve got customers that have a lot of remote workers or mobile workers, that plays into this whole design as well, doesn’t it?
Neely: It really does. If you look at the typical help calls that we get, a lot of them are based on how do we support the people that are actually using the system, and its connectivity and design oftentimes. It’s really not even the WAN or the point where it comes out of the router and goes out there to really have some advance knowledge of where it is even geographically. We’ve brought up a data center in Phoenix in the last year, and in part it’s to shorten that hole.
Applications are getting much smarter, which is good. They’re becoming aware of multiple locations and you’re able to attach based on where you’re sitting, in a properly designed WAN. We’re still having to deal with–you walk into a customer and they’ve been doing it a way, and we really have to take a look and re-engineer that. Cloud deals, all of them–WAN is a major component and to understand what it’s doing and design it.
Andrew: Got it. Makes a lot of sense. I think another important note, because we always appreciate the pre-sales engineering resources that companies like Matrix provides. What would you say to partners who are thinking, “Boy, this might get a little tricky for me. I don’t want to be left out in the cold trying to figure this piece out.” How can they lean on Matrix to help them solve this problem?
Neely: I would urge people not to try and figure a lot of that out. It’s really putting people in a room and asking them what do the results want to be. Scott Lee, our Head of Channels, has sales engineers that are available for any of that kind of spec. We have certified Cisco people. We have plenty of people that do it every day, turning the wrenches. We want it to be successful because the implementation–you really only get that one chance at a first impression with a new client. If connectivity is the problem we all know it takes a while to change that, to bring in new circuits or to design that. We try and really urge people to try to take that as seriously as the applications. The servers, the WAN is really fundamental to success.
Andrew: Got it. Very, very cool. Great stuff, Neely. Thanks so much, man, for jumping in. It’s always great to have your huge brain in this room, man.
Neely: Thanks a lot, Andrew. See you soon.
Andrew: Good deal. Guys, that’s Neely Loring. Neely is the CEO of Matrix, one of our go-to cloud providers, and a long-time member of the faculty. Do make sure you dig into the learning center here at the University around Matrix. They’ve got tons of great information there. Sales tools and white papers, videos, things you can study to get smarter about how to close big deals in the cloud with Matrix. Good selling.