There’s good reason to believe that SD-WAN, the acronym for software-defined networking in a wide area network, will become the preferred — if not the standard IT architecture — in the near term.
Writing for NetworksAsia, Silver Peak founder and CEO David Hughes pointed out: “For the past three years, SD-WAN has been one of the most talked about technology trends. All the discussion around SD-WAN has helped shine the spotlight on the business value enterprises can realize by changing the way they build their wide area networks.”
Hughes added: “As more enterprises use multiple clouds, SD-WAN will provide a uniform fabric between physical locations and across cloud instances. Automation will make adding new cloud instances easy and fast, despite the inherent complexities and idiosyncrasies of each underlying cloud environment.”
Dean Vaughan, Silver Peak’s vice president of sales for Asia Pacific and Japan, confirmed the projected trends as he discussed the requirements of its clients.
“Traditionally customers have had a wide area network infrastructure via MPLS where the endpoint goes from a specific location back to headquarters and then out to the cloud. That model with an endpoint, whether you have an endpoint in Philippines, or Singapore, Australia for example, are all coming back to a central point in the United States. That works well when all your applications are residing at a central data center in one particular location,” Vaughan said.
He went on to recall that in the past, everyone had an application sitting in the data center. He explained: “Similarly, in the Philippines, one of the major conglomerates for example, has lots of branch offices across different islands and different locations, all their applications are sitting in their data center here in Manila. What happens is the data goes back to the data center and goes back to the central point that all worked well, when the applications were all data-centric.”
Now, as the Silver Peak executive continued, with the proliferation of SaaS (software as a service) and IaaS (infrastructure as a service), applications are dispersed into the various cloud providers.
“The old model of having the endpoint going direct to headquarters and then now having to go out to a new SasS provider get slower, cumbersome and difficult to manage,” he stated.
Genuine digital transformation needed
In light of the current setting, Vaughan noted, “The technology has been there, but the limitation is that IT inside the organization is having difficulties in adjusting to these new protocols because they still want to have control and manage security. The situation is getting worse because with more applications moving to the cloud, VoIP is becoming more prevalent, and the environment keeps changing because applications are getting dispersed. It’s only a legacy that applications are staying inside the data center. IT organizations and users now realise that they need to face the problem.”
SD-WAN architecture promises to provide the solutions for these challenges. Vaughan said, “The core drivers for software-defined networking, is the expensive cost for MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) and the fact that applications are now being cloud dispersed outside the data centers and are starting to proliferate across many different sites and cloud applications.”
As such, Silver Peak’s customers were consistently saying that they “want to reduce their MPLS costs.” Vaughan pointed out: “They have broadband connection in the office but users at home are getting better access from the cloud providers at home than what they got in the office. As organizations are moving to the cloud, they want to know how this can be fixed.”
To address the needs of its clients, Silver Peak created a technology called first-packet inspection, or first-packet iQ. Vaughan stated, “This is the idea where we are now able to apply intelligence and what we refer to as business-first decision-making. Rather than the traditional one-size-fits-all MPLS offering, the business can now look at each application and ask themselves, ‘What is mission-critical?'”
In other words, the SD-WAN architecture works smart and identifies the issues that need urgent attention.