This guest blog post is by Atchison Frazer at Talari Networks. We thank Talari for being a sponsor.
The phrase “to cross the Rubicon” signifies taking a step that forever changes future events. In 1967, Dr. Christiaan Barnard made his own “crossing” when after years of controversial research, he performed the world’s first human heart transplant. He took a highly publicized and risky step that would cement the fate of his career – for good or bad.
Today, transplant and open-heart surgery saves about half a million lives every year in the United States alone. Barnard’s decision to take that leap and put his research, knowledge, and skill on the line has forever changed cardiac mortality rates.
The technology behind SD-WAN may have crossed that little river, too. According to a worldwide IDC survey, a significant percentage of enterprises plan to adopt SD-WAN, by testing or putting SD-WAN in production within the next 18 months. Tens of thousands of businesses, large and small, will benefit from the advantages of SD-WAN.
The WAN represents one of the biggest challenges for enterprises today. It is the life-blood of every organization that connects corporate offices to the cloud, and branch offices to corporate data centers and cloud/SaaS-hosted applications.
Whether it has to do with security, reliability, performance, cost savings, connecting to the cloud, or simplifying WAN deployment and management, SD-WAN has proven to be a transformative technology. It has forever changed the way the enterprise workforce, customers, and partners connect and work with their applications.
Initial SD-WAN adoption has seen enterprises enhancing their private and hybrid networks, by adding multiple, low-cost Internet connections. IT centrally manages the entire WAN with a controller that incorporates policies and analytics. A software overlay abstracts the underlying network, and edge appliances forward traffic among multiple, diverse links using intelligent path selection.
SD-WAN is great for enterprises, but what about communications service providers? Low-cost, high speed Internet links don’t offer the high margins that MPLS and other private leased lines have.
SD-WAN is a game-changing and profound new way in which enterprises enable users to access and work with applications over long-distance networks. Communication service providers are leveraging SD-WAN technology to deliver tiered and differentiated service bundles. The benefits are so far-reaching and boundless, there’s no looking back.
SD-WAN Rewrites The ‘Less Is More’ Oxymoron
MPLS has made it possible for companies with multiple locations to reliably and securely access and work with enterprise software applications over long distances. However, as is the case for many things, the intrinsic value that was once appreciated can become complex and rigid. With new technology innovations, sometimes the things we once relied upon lose their effectiveness.
I’ve heard it said that productivity is a fundamental economic measure of a technology’s contribution. Unfortunately, as technology evolves, what once helped us to be highly productive can become the obstacle that holds us back from moving forward. Such is the paradox of the legacy wide-area network (WAN), which is rapidly being cannibalized by the software-defined WAN (SD-WAN).
If you’re not familiar with SD-WAN, you might be asking, ‘Why would you want a public broadband data link or mobile broadband link, if you already have a private MPLS circuit?’ And that is a reasonable question. Technology will always find ways to make us faster, more responsive, and more secure. As was the case when private circuits, like MPLS, first became popular.
SD-WAN aggregates multiple, diverse network transports into a single, virtual WAN that continuously adapts to traffic based on the availability and real-time quality of the network paths. SD-WAN takes advantage of all network links, such as MPLS, xDSL, cable, broadband mobile, satellite, and others. All links are active and applications have access to all aggregated bandwidth.
Enterprises demand networking solutions that eliminate complexity, inflexibility, and high CAPEX and OPEX costs. The Internet, virtualization, software-defined networking, cloud migration, the distributed workforce, and mobility in general all represent major shifts that require new competencies for managing transport-independent services. The ‘less is more’ oxymoron takes a subtle rewrite to a ‘more with less’ via an SD-WAN solution.
Today’s WANs support discrete network architectures, including data and wireless traffic. Users access applications from central data centers, and cloud-hosted and SaaS-delivered sites, where access to applications needs to be fast, reliable, and secure. IT personnel need WANs to be easy and flexible to deploy and manage, with deep visibility to respond to dynamic network changes.
Private MPLS circuits and any other network transport, like broadband Internet, become ‘more’ when put together into a virtual network. This contemporary network leverages MPLS to run the mission-critical applications. At the same time, it liberates companies from a single service provider, and frees them from the constraints of expensive, rigid, and cumbersome network infrastructure.
MPLS circuits are used to support enterprise applications and services. Yet, many enterprises are now looking for MPLS alternatives to lower costs, simplify deployments for new offices, and incrementally increase bandwidth.
To accomplish this, they shouldn’t have to incur the time, cost, and complexity of tearing out existing network infrastructure. An SD-WAN overlay can be deployed quickly, while working in conjunction with existing network infrastructure, allowing users to seamlessly connect to cloud/SaaS and enterprise data centers.
While there is a growing movement toward all-Internet WANs, many enterprises don’t want to eliminate MPLS. Fortunately, this plays directly into one of SD-WAN’s strengths: providing a graceful transition to a hybrid network consisting of MPLS, plus any other transport.
Enterprises have the flexibility to extend MPLS to a hybrid WAN or move to a full Internet WAN by abstracting the underlying network architecture. As new offices open, or MPLS contracts come up for renewal, companies now have options to use the network transports that best meet their business needs. Whether a WAN is based on a hybrid consisting of MPLS and broadband, Internet and wireless, or directly connected to the cloud, SD-WAN will ensure continuous availability and predictable performance.
Software-defined and network function virtualization (NFV) are forever changing enterprise networking. As more enterprise IT infrastructure migrates to the cloud, organizations will increasingly rely on solutions like SD-WAN to provide reliable, secure, and seamless cloud connectivity for all network transports.
SD-WAN User Session
SD-WAN deployments are driving a new era of resiliency, agility, and cost efficiency. In fact, Gartner believes that 50%+ of WAN refresh initiatives will start with an SD-WAN architecture. SD-WAN is a relatively new technology, so it’s important to gain knowledge now about best practices that will guide you through your initial deployments.
Fortunately, Talari Networks, the leader in Failsafe SD-WAN technology, has paved the road and is available to give you first-hand knowledge of successful SD-WAN deployments. We encourage you to attend our Bay Area User Session: “Learn about how to successfully deploy ‘Failsafe’ SD-WAN technology.”
Complimentary lunch and beverages will be provided for this event, which will start with a session hosted by Andrew Longsworth, Driscoll’s IT Infrastructure Engineering Manager. Driscoll’s was an early pioneer in broadly deploying Talari’s SD-WAN offering, and will discuss overcoming the challenges that can help you move toward a successful implementation.
Success with SD-WAN User Session / February 22 – San Jose, CA
Register here: https://www.talari.com/company/events/talaris-sd-wan-user-session/
For more information, visit: http://www.talari.com