Cloud Native – The Perfect Storm for Managed SD-WAN Services

We are excited to announce today that Silver Peak has joined MEF. With 130+ members, MEF’s new SD-WAN initiatives are intended to address implementation challenges and help service providers to accelerate managed SD-WAN service deployments. Some of this work involves defining SD-WAN use cases, and a key use case revolves around connecting distributed enterprises and users to to cloud-hosted SaaS applications and IaaS.

Enterprise CIOs continue to accelerate the pace of corporate digital transformation initiatives, often including plans to migrate enterprise applications to the cloud. Cloud-first is often the preferable choice for hosting new applications, enabling enterprises to securely connect users to applications from anywhere and across any type of WAN service.

The migration from data center-hosted to cloud-hosted applications is a perfect storm for building an SD-WAN. The best-in-class SD-WAN solutions and services take an application-aware approach that focuses on performance and availability, .

Internet-Destined Traffic on the Rise

Two years ago, as an analyst, one of the questions that I always asked of my enterprise clients was, “what percentage of your applications traffic is destined for the internet?” At the time, that percentage was less than 50 percent. Today, based on many recent conversations with Tier 1 service providers and distributed enterprises, I estimate that the percentage of internet-bound traffic has increased to 85 percent.

However, using broadband internet services for the enterprise WAN, particularly for accessing cloud-native applications, poses additional challenges for enterprises that are concerned with the security, performance and visibility of their applications and network.

In fact, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan SD-WAN blog, 43 percent of enterprises chose improved cloud connectivity to deliver a better SaaS experience as the second most compelling reason to deploy an SD-WAN solution.

Ensuring High-Quality Cloud Connectivity

So how do enterprise IT managers ensure the equivalent customer experience when it comes to performance, security and visibility for cloud-hosted SaaS applications in contrast to data-center hosted applications and irrespective of the underlying network connectivity?

A best-in-class SD-WAN cloud connect use case can address the performance, security and visibility challenges for both on-net and off-net sites and across any network service including broadband.

Today, managed service providers offer either private MPLS or Ethernet cloud connect services for enterprises to connect on-net branch sites to a limited set of SaaS and IaaS providers. There are four key challenges that may limit the opportunity to fully address the managed cloud connect market:

  1. Existing service provider cloud connect service offerings for enterprise users across off-net sites must be backhauled to their nearest on-net provider PoP. This can introduce latency and adversely affect SaaS application performance.
  2. The complexity of identifying and securing all of the enterprise’s SaaS applications traffic requires additional resources and security policy flexibility to integrate a secure web gateway, enterprise branch firewall, or network-based security service.
  3. The requirement to identify, manage and priortize trusted applications vs personal web applications (YouTube, Facebook or Netflix) on the first packet is difficult once an application flow has been directed to a specific path.
  4. There are incremental expense, time and capital resource requirements to establish direct cloud connect peering relationships with every SaaS provider and for all SaaS data center sites.

Silver Peak SD-WAN Addresses Cloud Challenges

The Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnectSP SD-WAN solution addresses a full spectrum of key requirements for developing and deploying a compelling SD-WAN cloud connect service that can address all four key challenges:

  1. Dynamic and secure steering of cloud-destined application traffic to any SaaS provider
  2. Policy-based automated local internet breakout for trusted cloud applications with First-packet iQ that identifies and classifies applications on the first packet of each connection
  3. High-performance SaaS optimization which calculates the round-trip latency and automatically selects the optimal cloud connect path for 50+ SaaS applications
  4. Simple security service chaining to secure web gateways and industry-leading next generation firewalls to support granular security policies for SaaS and web-based applications.
  5. Minimize the requirement to backhaul all off-net cloud-destined applications to the nearest service provider MPLS PoP

By taking advantage of these advanced EdgeConnectSP features and capabilities, service providers can extend their existing cloud connect services beyond the MPLS private cloud connect use cases and offer an advanced SD-WAN Cloud Connect service. This creates an enormous opportunity for service providers to offer tiered managed cloud connect services that enable SLAs for public, private on-net and off-net deployments of SaaS applications.

As a new MEF member, Silver Peak looks forward to contributing to and enhancing the service provider market opportunity for new on-demand, tiered managed SD-WAN services.

  • Claudette Chander

    Very informative!… Look forward to hearing more on the topic…