Moving Beyond Traditional WAN to SD-WAN
Rachna Tyagi, Sr. Global Technology Leader, British Telecom
Shifting to SD-WAN can be a complicated endeavour
The challenge for CIOs is that deploying SD-WAN can be complicated. With SD-WANs, there are numerous decisions to be made, such as should broadband be used and if so then where? Should services remain on premises or be moved to the cloud? Should traffic be routed directly to the cloud from a branch or be routed to the company headquarter? Each time an option is provided, it adds to the complexity of deployment. One of the aspects of SD-WAN is that businesses have more choice in flexibility in deployment, but that comes with the burden of increased complexity.
What CIOs need to know about SD-WAN?
There has been much talk about Software Defined Networking (SDN) and how SDN benefits virtual environments and data centres. However an area that is often overlooked is how abstraction can apply to application performance and value across the wide area network (WAN). The WAN has always been about connecting users to applications and moving data more effectively over long distances. This includes connectivity for collaboration among enterprise users, clients, suppliers, and partners, as well as the movement of data over distance for disaster recovery and business continuity.
CIOs need to make that first step
CIOs are now evaluating software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions as a potential way to better align WAN resources with business mandates. Indeed, IDC predicts that the SD-WAN market will grow to become a $6 billion industry by 2020. It is worth noting, however, that not all SD-WANs are the same. Some deliver only on the more basic of requirements: broadband connectivity, path selection, zero-touch provisioning, centralized management and cost reductions. It’s important that CIOs think more holistically about the WAN. While SD-WAN is central to building a better WAN, it is critical that organizations ensure they are addressing key aspects such as performance, visibility and control, security, and extensibility to realize the full potential that an SD-WAN can deliver. Keeping WAN connections secure from threats when data and applications are in transit is key.
Since a broadband WAN is not an all-or-nothing approach, CIOs can move at their own pace when it comes to deploying an SD-WAN solution. While the ultimate goal may be a 100% broadband WAN, CIOs can take incremental steps by first deploying a hybrid WAN. As MPLS upgrades arise, businesses can evaluate lower-cost broadband Internet services as an alternative for connecting users to applications.
Ultimately, enterprises will become increasingly drawn to SD-WAN models as virtualization and cloud applications become standard practice, further magnifying the inadequacies of legacy WAN architectures. Transitioning to a holistic SD-WAN model can be accomplished with minimal disruption and cost, as Internet services can be introduced into the WAN without compromising application performance or the existing MPLS network.
A variant is a related products or flavours which could be of interest for the complete solution design.ZScaler, Cisco Umbrella, Fortinet, Palo Alto, Alto vista, Riverbed, Meraki LAN and WIFI sitting behind the Connect Cisco SDWAN service, LAN Connect
Few commonly used implementations of SD-WAN
Cisco acquired Viptela, and this led to improved SD-WAN service with advanced routing, segmentation and security capabilities for interconnecting complex enterprise networks. This service is called Cisco SD-WAN Viptela supports the widest range of network protocols and a wide range of miscellaneous features including SNMP/API access, several different modes of HA, firewalling and local Internet breakout capabilities, and branch-in-a-box depending on the appliance used.
Cisco Meraki SD WAN
Fundamentally, Meraki is a managed device service providing WAN and LAN functions at the customer premise. It is geared toward enterprises with managed Wi-Fi requirement. It is controller based.