Everything you need to know about Azure Virtual WAN

If you know us well, you’ll be aware we’re constantly striving to improve our services and expertise for our customers, so it probably won’t come as a surprise that we’ve added Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN to our extensive suite of services. 

To find out just want this means, we caught up with  Mark Johnson, Head of Digital Connectivity to find out how are customers are set to benefit. 


So Mark, what is Azure Virtual WAN? 

Azure Virtual WAN is part of Microsoft’s Global Transit Network Architecture, which is based on a classic hub-and-spoke connectivity model where the cloud hosted network ‘hub’ enables transitive connectivity between endpoints that may be distributed across different types of ‘spokes’. This means we can provide next level connectivity to our customers so they can easily consume Azure based services from MPLS, internet based connectivity and even from a VPN client. 


What are the benefits of this 

Where do I start? Firstly, it means we can use Microsoft’s global network which consists of 54 regions around the world as well as using their transit network, 160+ global POPs for all customer traffic whether it’s Azure consumption or on-premise.  

This service allows us to connect anything from users, to branch sites, to data centres and other cloud services, not only that, it also gives us access to other services such as PaaS, IaaS and SaaS.  

Migrating applications and data from on-premise into the cloud becomes a lot easier when using Azure Virtual WAN, as we can terminate both Microsoft ExpressRoutes and VPNs on a single Virtual WAN hub and thus access to all the production, non-production, test and dev environments. 

Azure Virtual WAN is built with agility and scalability in mind so we can start to scale resources up on a bandwidth and site-capacity basis with a consumption-based model allowing for more flexible approach for customers. 

To add to that, Azure has been built on a software-defined model which enables us to use agile methodologies to update new features as and when they become available. We know Azure has over 30 services at present when it comes to networking and security and we can introduce these at any time in conjunction with our agile methodology.  


So where does this fit in at ANS?  

A question we are always asked is around how an organisation can successfully migrate from their current application environment to a cloud environment. So it’s important that ANS understands all the moving parts associated with moving to Azure. 

Virtual WAN is a large part of Microsoft’s evolvement in terms of moving away from traditional gateway software to a more scalable and agile environment and ANS has the expertise and capabilities to support this. 

Now is a really exciting time for the Digital Connectivity team at ANS as we are now building SDWAN models on top of Azure Virtual WAN which allows us to deploy these types of services, removing a lot of the complexity of underlying infrastructure, improving WAN circuit utilisation and increasing application performance for our customers, whether they manage it, or we do. 


Have we deployed a solution of this type?  

ANS is in fact the first UK partner to be able to deliver Azure Virtual WAN. We are currently engaged in a project where we are delivering a 15 site global virtual WAN. 

The customer was experiencing huge operational complexities with managing its current IPSec based WAN deployment and by introducing Azure Virtual WAN, we removed their operational overhead and complexity of managing their infrastructure, thus creating clear operational efficiencies. Architecturally the global WAN is now agile, scalable and enabled for new service innovations only really available from cloudbased tooling and services.  


Want to know more? Watch the video to find out why SDWAN should be a part of your digital strategy. 

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