According to Merriam-Webster, orchestration is defined as 1: the arrangement of a musical composition for performance by an orchestra (a group of musicians including especially string players organized to perform ensemble music); 2: harmonious organization
If you’ve ever attended the symphony, you have probably noticed the vibrant movement of the conductor waving his baton in front of the orchestra. The conductor has one of the most visible jobs in the music world, but despite this, many concertgoers are likely unclear about what the conductor is really doing. The conductor’s job is to assign different instruments to the musicians that play the different elements that make up the musical composition. The primary goal of the conductor is to orchestrate harmony across all of the instruments so that every instrument is audible. However, the conductor doesn’t simply keep the orchestra in time or harmony, most importantly, he serves as a messenger for the composer. The conductor intrinsically understands the music and communicates it to the musicians using his baton so that the orchestra can transmit a cohesive view of the music to the audience.
Similarly, an SD-WAN orchestrator plays a vital role in bringing an SD-WAN into harmony with the requirements of the business, that is to centralize the orchestration of all the SD-WAN components to secure and control the application traffic traversing the WAN and deliver the highest quality of experience to application users. In this role, the orchestrator ensures that the priorities of the business are always reflected in the way the network behaves.
Think of SD-WAN network functions like instruments in the orchestra ready to be fine-tuned to the business requirements to deliver peak performance.
So, What Makes a Great Orchestrator?
A great orchestrator – deployed on-premise or in the cloud – should fast-track business responsiveness through four foundational capabilities: single screen administration, real-time visibility, automation and centralized orchestration.
Intuitive, Single Screen Administration
A great orchestrator with single screen GUI-based administration should streamline operations and be so intuitive that IT generalists could operate it.
For example, the Silver Peak Unity Orchestrator™ employs an intent-driven framework that enables network administrators to centrally define, assign and enforce network-wide policies in accordance with business intent to secure and control all application traffic across the WAN. Unity Orchestrator delivers the ultimate quality of experience for network managers focusing on operational simplicity with intuitive interfaces that streamline the configuration and deployment of application policies. Think of it as a self-guided UI with real-time feedback that speeds decision making.
Real-time Visibility and Monitoring
A great orchestrator should enable faster troubleshooting so that IT is more responsive to the business. In addition, it must provide visibility into both data center and cloud-based applications to ensure that operators gain insight on the traffic running across the network and act accordingly.
The customized dashboards within the Unity Orchestrator provide granular details on the health and performance of the SD-WAN in a single screen that displays centralized information such as appliance status, alarms, licenses, topology, top talkers, and more. The granular real-time monitoring of application traffic throughput, loss, latency and jitter across overlays and underlays enables network administrators to proactively identify potential performance impacts and remediate them in real-time. In addition, customized performance reports can be quickly generated, including a valuable bandwidth savings report. Insights like these, are not just used for troubleshooting but also for planning purposes as they form a baseline of network utilization and application performance.
Automation and Continuous Control
A great orchestrator enables network administrators to centrally deploy new network-wide policies quickly, powering real-time response to maintain the highest level of network and application performance and automatically adapt to changing business needs.
The Unity Orchestrator goes well beyond automation and templates, applying AI and machine learning to get smarter every day. It automates daily updates for more than 10,000 cloud applications and millions of web domains ensuring that users can always connect to any application without manual intervention from IT. In addition, it automates the integration with cloud security services to deliver consistent security policies for all users, across all locations with zero-touch provisioning.
Continuous control is demonstrated by using a single health map that correlates outages, performance and configuration issues and by automatically assigning business intent policies to streamline connectivity across 100s or 1000s of sites.
Centralized Orchestration and Management
A great orchestrator should provide orchestration across all network functions, including SD-WAN, routing, firewall, segmentation, WAN optimization and application visibility and control.
The Unity Orchestrator centrally enables zero touch provisioning of new appliances and sites with pre-configured policies, drag-and-drop service chaining to 3rd party network/security service and the ability to apply WAN optimization to any class of applications with a single mouse click.
The next time you attend the symphony and see the orchestra conductor at work you can fully appreciate his seamless interaction with the musicians, all playing together in perfect harmony to transmit beautiful music in unison.
Similarly, if you are looking to keep your SD-WAN in harmony with your business, look for an SD-WAN edge platform with a great orchestrator that leverages automation and intelligence to uniquely translate your business requirements into business agility and make the network far simpler to manage and far more cost-effective to operate. And just let the orchestrator conduct the SD-WAN network, sit back, relax and enjoy the highest quality of experience.