With the rise of the cloud, ever-larger bandwidth, and SaaS (News - Alert)-based business models, communications and networking continue to move forward at an unprecedented pace. But one area that hasn’t changed much in the last couple decades is the enterprise wide area network.
“This is the greatest IT transformation of our time,” said Dave Nuti, vice president of business development and strategic accounts at Aryaka (News - Alert) Networks. “We’re pushing 20 years with the same platform, but that platform isn’t addressing what’s happening today.”
Indeed. A recent study by Cato Networks noted that current WAN architectures are complex and rigid, forcing a trade-off between cost, complexity, manageability, and performance. The company surveyed enterprise decision makers, 43 percent of which reported latency in remote branch locations when using WAN, while an additional 43 percent said the high cost of buying and managing appliances is a major WAN side effect.
Meanwhile, 49 percent of IT professionals told Cato Networks that the cost of buying and managing security appliances and software is the biggest network security challenge they currently face. And 48 percent reported difficulty in enforcing security policies for mobile users.
SD-WAN now addresses these challenges, allowing for better visibility, lower connectivity costs across the enterprise network, as well as improvements in business continuity and disaster recovery, performance, and security.
“Most overlay SD-WANs depend on legacy network connectivity technologies like MPLS for performance. In such scenarios, businesses need to deal with the hassles of managing multiple MPLS contracts, WAN optimization hardware (for application acceleration), and SD-WAN appliances at the edge. Businesses also need to hire or deploy personnel to manage the solution,” said Chandramouli Radhakrishnan, director of product management at Aryaka. “By bypassing the congested middle mile of the internet, businesses can experience enhanced performance for all enterprise applications.”
Milind Bhise, senior director of product marketing at Riverbed (News - Alert), a WAN optimization company that launched its SD-WAN solution in October, said that SD-WAN also offers a quick, easy, and secure way to connect to public clouds like AWS. That was one of the goals of SimplePay Group when it tapped Riverbed to provide it with the SteelConnect SD-WAN solution, he added.
SD-WAN is also noteworthy for its ability to allow customers to use multiple connections at all times, rather than have primary and secondary links, with the secondary links sitting idle until the primary goes down, said Erik Knight, CEO of SimpleWAN. He added that in the traditional WAN model secondary connections tend to remain untested for long periods of time, so as a result sometimes don’t work when they need to be called into action. SD-WAN is the answer to that problem, he says; it allows businesses to use all their connections all the time.
Because SD-WAN has diverse failover, added Pat Saavedra, founder, president, and CTO of TELoIP Inc., there are no dropped VoIP calls. Saavedra added that TELoIP holds a patent for diverse carrier aggregation.
Some SD-WAN solution providers are expanding on what they offer through partnerships with specialists in various fields. For example, Neil Abogado, director of product marketing at Talari, said his company has forged ecosystem relationships with Data2Go and Palo Alto (News - Alert) Networks. Data2Go provides a hardware device that enables cellular connectivity, and it supports major U.S. cell companies. This enables Talari customers to more easily bring in cellular connectivity as part their SD-WAN solution.
Talari’s partnership with Palo Alto Network allows it to provide customers with an SD-WAN solution that integrates with Palo Alto firewalls already in place. Although Talari has its own firewalls, Abogado said the relationship with Palo Alto “fits a need we need we were hearing from our customers.”
Edited by Stefania Viscusi