It’s the new year and I’m reflecting on one of the hottest technology trends in the networking space - Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN). If you’re thinking that now is the time for SD-WAN, you may need to consider if the solution is ready to be adopted into your production network. Most manufacturers with an edge WAN device are claiming to support SD-WAN, and there is a lot of change in this market. Cisco, the market leader for routers, just acquired Viptella earlier this year. Cisco’s IWAN solution which is based on older but, proven features like: AVC, PfR, and DMVPN with DNA Center will continue to be supported but, Viptella will be the leading solution going forward. We should expect integration into Cisco’s DNA Center as soon as 2018.
The Secret Sauce of SD-WAN
The SD-WAN message is compelling and the promise of a TCO appears concrete. Does your enterprise consist of multiple remote sites? If you’re connecting to headend’s or hub sites with multiple MPLS connections it can get expensive. With SD-WAN, you can easily consolidate some of those pricy MPLS connections by using cheaper broadband connections.
How the edge WAN device makes policy decisions to overcome the challenges of latency and delay is the ‘secret sauce’. Support for protocols like multicast and scalability to 1000’s of sites for large enterprises is another deciding factor. When you install and configure all those edge devices during a migration, you may need to leverage an on-premise or cloud based controller to help configure and deploy the edge routers. Zero touch provisioning is an available feature that will allow for this.
No matter what, you still need a person to rack and cable the device - some solutions available will use certificates or USB keys to authenticate back to the controller. Finally, if your enterprise is going to leverage lower cost internet broadband connections, then industry leading encryption is required. Most solutions on the market today use AES256.
The Value prop of SD-WAN Cisco Viptella and Meraki
Currently the SD-WAN market is in a state of flux. If you’re using Cisco Meraki, you’re able to utilize their version of SD-WAN, but it’s a standalone from DNA Center for now. There are also many other players including Citrix, Riverbed, Silverpeak and more that utilize SD-WAN technology.
Now is the time to evaluate your application traffic across the WAN
The SD-WAN market, while still in the early adopter phase today, is right on the cusp of main stream adoption. Cisco being the market leader and their integration of Viptella and their innovation with Cisco DNA will make 2018 a strong year for SD-WAN. Enterprises should already be evaluating their application traffic across the WAN and determining what the impact of an SD-WAN solution will be from both an operational and financial perspective. MDSi has the expertise to help walk our customers through that process.
How to get started:
Still have questions? Talk to one of our engineering solution experts today to discuss how you can move to SD-WAN and the proper products and services needed to save you TCO.