Imagine migrating your entire IT infrastructure to the cloud. In order to accommodate this shift, you need a robust and agile WAN edge infrastructure to support the new cloud applications. That’s the challenge recently undertaken by eSilicon, a leading provider of complex application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), when it migrated its entire IT infrastructure to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
In moving its applications to GCP, eSilicon required a more agile and efficient WAN. It turned to software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) technology from Silver Peak, which enabled it to retire its traditional MPLS-based WAN in favor of a business-driven SD-WAN built on the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect™ edge platform.
“We wanted to move our IT infrastructure from on premise to cloud,” said Naidu Annamaneni, CIO and Vice President of Global IT of eSilicon, in an interview with Futuriom. “It didn’t make any sense to continue to have the MPLS networks because of the high costs.”
But it wasn’t just about reducing costs. . Annamaneni said there were several goals of moving the network from traditional private connections to a more flexible SD-WAN. One of the largest benefits, said Annamaneni, was having full-mesh connectivity across its disparate sites. There was also the need to more efficiently use bandwidth to increase productivity. By moving to SD-WAN and EdgeConnect, Annamaneni said the entire network received a performance boost. In addition, the company gained more control over bandwidth management by enabling it to assign bandwidth performance needs by site and by application.
Other benefits of moving to an SD-WAN architecture included ease of connectivity, better security, and centralized cloud-based orchestration that enabled automation of site deployments.
Specific Needs of VDI
As a supplier of ASICs, eSilicon has specialized cloud technology requirements. This includes the heavy use of a cloud-based virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) using Citrix technology, as well as the need to manage sharp spikes in compute requirements based on customer needs and design cycles. One of the biggest requirements of eSilicon was to support the use of Citrix VDI running from the Google Cloud. In many instances, said Annamaneni, this application could make up 90 percent of network traffic.
“The Unity Boost™ feature [in EdgeConnect] was key,” said Annamaneni. “Tests against other [SD-WAN] products tilted us toward Silver Peak. The Citrix traffic performed better and it was specifically optimized for that.”
As a result, the company was not only able to get a productivity and application performance boost for end users, but it was also able to reduce network costs on both sides — both at the branch level and egress costs for data in the cloud. According to eSilicon, the company achieved a 75 percent overall Citrix data reduction, 75 percent lower data egress costs from the cloud for Citrix traffic, and 10 percent lower latency, all while increasing network agility.
“We know that the ROI is there,” said Annamaneni. “We have completely eliminated MPLS so it’s a minimum 5X less expensive than what we were paying. Our cloud egress charges are also greatly reduced.”
Security and Orchestration Benefits
The other key benefits of the move to the EdgeConnect SD-WAN platform included a more agile network infrastructure, with more control over orchestration and security.
Using cloud-based orchestration, EdgeConnect provides easy features for setting up new sites and provisioning security services. In addition, using cloud-based security means each site doesn’t have to have its own security firewall — the functionality can be added from the cloud.
“Most importantly, using the orchestration features, we can have visibility into all traffic across all of our sites,” said Annamaneni.
For more information on eSilicon’s SD-WAN deployment please read the case study.