While most SD-WAN (software defined wide area network) solutions promise to save money and improve network agility, it is possible to help customers build a better WAN to deliver higher levels of application performance, business productivity and user experience.
This is according to Anton Jacobsz, managing director at value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited, the sole distributor for Silver Peak, a global leader in broadband and hybrid WAN solutions, across the sub-Saharan market.
He goes on to say that, while the benefits to deploying an SD-WAN may be well understood, there are seven lesser-known facts to take note of regarding the capabilities offered by a Silver Peak SD-WAN solution.
1. You can deliver SLAs for enterprise apps over consumer broadband
SD-WANs overcome the limitations we’ve become used to dealing with via internet connections – they’re notoriously unreliable, application performance is sketchy at best and they lack the necessary security protocols.
SD-WANs let network managers integrate internet links into their WANs in addition to leased line services, increasing bandwidth and lowering costs.
“Adding broadband allows for rapid WAN connectivity provisioning for new or temporary business locations and enables IT to add capacity at remote offices easily accommodating growth,” says Jacobsz.
2. You can replace branch routers with SD-WAN
“Speaking of new locations, Silver Peak’s EdgeConnect BGP routing eliminates the need to install separate routers, simplifying the WAN edge infrastructure,” he says. “With full integrated routing, basic firewalling and optional WAN optimisation, clients can migrate to SD-WAN at their own pace while achieving the efficiencies inherent to a thin branch.”
3. You can bring new branches online in hours
In much the same way as mentioned in point two, using Silver Peak’s EdgeConnect, customers can migrate at their own pace, deploying in conjunction with existing edge routers, minimising network disruption and eliminating long deployment times.
This solution supports BGP routing, which makes it easier to replace existing routers to simplify the WAN and to enable both SD-WAN enabled branches and those that have not migrated to communicate effectively.
4. You can intelligently and granularly steer individual cloud-based apps over the internet
Using the cloud, businesses are leaning towards sending SaaS and trusted web traffic directly to the internet from branch offices rather than wasting bandwidth and money backhauling traffic to a data centre.
Using Silver Peak’s First-pack iQ, which securely directs traffic based on application-driven business and security policies, companies can eliminate wasted bandwidth and performance bottlenecks.
“Trusted traffic is treated appropriately and other traffic is sent to more robust security appliances as directed by pre-set security policies,” says Jacobsz.
5. You can deploy an SD-WAN over your existing infrastructure
“We’re seeing organisations moving many applications to the cloud and, as a result, they are now investigating the efficacy of deploying a hybrid WAN approach,” says Jacobsz. “This approach increases bandwidth capacity and network availability while improving application performance with direct access to cloud services.”
EdgeConnect enables businesses to optimise their hybrid WAN architecture and build an SD-WAN based on broadband WAN services cutting the total WAN costs by up to 90 percent. This approach preserves current infrastructure investments while optimising available bandwidth capacity negating the need to purchase additional bandwidth.
6. You can enhance WAN and application security with SD-WAN
As indicated, highly granular security policies can be configured and automated to protect the branch office. As an added measure, EdgeConnect provides basic firewall and security capabilities for thin branch offices that do not host applications.
“These measures allow traffic out but only allows ingress traffic in response to user-initiated sessions,” says Jacobsz. They create a trusted whitelist of SaaS and internet apps that are safe to go to the internet while directing other app traffic through secure gateways or next-generation firewalls.
“This results in the business having access to the highest levels of application performance based on business intent while simplifying the branch office and lowering Capex all the while protecting the business from vulnerabilities.”
7. You can build a self-driving WAN
David Hughes, founder of Silver Peaks, has often talked about the journey from the software defined WAN to the self-driving WAN and he says that while applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to the WAN might seem futuristic, it’s already happening with the EdgeConnect.
“Silver Peak invented First-packet iQ, which uses a learning architecture that empowers learning locally in the individual edge devices (by snooping on DNS and learning from DPI results), learning at the enterprise level in the orchestrator (redistributing information learned by individual appliances), and learning in aggregate with the Silver Peak cloud intelligence service (where we keep track of the first packet signatures of 10s of thousands of web services).
“First-packet iQ marks a vital step in the journey to self-driving WANs but Silver Peak continues to deliver innovations as we make our way to the final destination.”
Silver Peak innovations in SD-WAN and their capacity to heighten security and simplify migration and scale have changed the way businesses view networks.
“Globally, we’re seeing a massive rise in SD-WAN adoption,” says Jacobsz. “Its ability to overcome the security, reliability and performance challenges to using the internet for business applications, while lowering networking costs are the reasons for this incredibly fast growth – the facts are known and proven.”