It’s an exciting time in wide-area networking (WAN). With the rapid adoption of software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) architectures, the world is experiencing the biggest transformation in the WAN since the introduction of multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) back in the late 90s.
So says Damon Ennis, Senior VP of Products for SD-WAN solution provider, Silver Peak. Writing in a blog entry, Ennis notes that: “Marketing messages from different vendors vary widely depending on the heritage of the company and the capabilities – or limitations – of their offerings. Some focus their messaging around security. Others focus just on networking technology. Only a few enable a modern WAN edge infrastructure solution. This leads to a lot of confusion and frustration for organisations trying to sift through the details in order to make a sound, strategic decision on how to best rearchitect their WAN edge to support cloud and digital transformation initiatives.”
Ennis says that one of the key areas of confusion, as well as being a critical decision factor for customers, is the issue of which is more important – the WAN or the security? He argues that the reality is that it’s both.
Marcel Fouché, Networking and Storage GM at Networks Unlimited Africa, the distributor for Silver Peak in Sub-Saharan Africa, clarifies, “Enterprises that are widely dispersed, geographically speaking, are rapidly moving to embrace SD-WANs. This is because they dramatically lower costs, reduce complexity and make branch communications more secure, while also in the process, assisting businesses to become more agile and responsive. Silver Peak offers a number of different ways to use a secure SD-WAN solution to improve network security and compliance.”
According to Ennis, “A key benefit enabled by a modern SD-WAN is the ability to connect users to cloud applications directly from the branch using the Internet… But, using the Internet for transporting enterprise application traffic increases exposure to vulnerabilities, broadens the attack surface at the branch and, ultimately, exposes the entire enterprise to greater risk.
“…Another dynamic that is transforming network and security requirements is the explosion of network endpoints – the definition of a ‘site’ is expanding. Besides branch locations, a site might be an ATM machine or a railroad car or a wind turbine… Network architects now need to think about scaling not to a thousand sites but to tens of thousands of endpoints. And many of these endpoints may be located far away from physical enterprise locations. This also places additional requirements on how security must be delivered.”
Fouché concludes, “Despite the fact that there are a number of companies globally trying to present themselves as SD-WAN providers, only two are positioned as Leaders in the Gartner 2019 Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure, of which Silver Peak is one. Seventeen other companies are named across the other three quadrants. This underscores Silver Peak’s superior offering and abilities, and showcases once again Networks Unlimited Africa’s philosophy of partnering with those companies that truly are best-of-breed, whether they are global giants or visionary start-ups”.