SD-WAN is quickly approaching mainstream adoption by enterprises; Ovum’s research finds that about one-third of enterprises are trialing or using the technology. Once service providers gain SD-WAN experience, they also find the technology a versatile tool for their broader platform, services, and architecture plans. Interoute, a leading pan-European and global operator of network and cloud services, provides an example: At the beginning of 2017, the company updated its Enterprise Digital Platform – an evolution of the operator’s edge, core, and cloud offerings designed to fit together and accelerate enterprises’ end-to-end performance – with fully featured SD-WAN as an integral component. The provider’s platform offers customers commercial and service-level flexibility through a mix of on- and off-net, public internet, and private IP sites to a common fabric, and it optimizes performance of application delivery, including optional WAN optimization.
Interoute began working with Silver Peak in 2015 on what at the time was the Interoute Cloud Connect service. Interoute introduced the service to help enterprises optimize and secure their end-to-end application data flows between their site locations and private/public clouds. In 2017, the relationship extended to Interoute’s Edge Access services, part of the provider’s Enterprise Digital Platform. Interoute Edge deploys virtual network functions on industry-standard x86-based virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE). The vCPE chains together several software-based network service functions, including the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution and integrated Unity Boost WAN optimization, virtual security appliances, and lower-layer switching/routing. Interoute Edge can support off-net deployments, so enterprises can migrate network segments managed by third-party providers to deliver SD-WAN benefits.
Instead of only running SD-WAN and WAN optimization network functions over the top (i.e., over the public internet), Interoute connects Edge traffic into its core network at its nearest IP entry point, placing optimal routing and assurance as near to the customer as possible. It then utilizes virtual gateways located in its 17 Interoute Virtual Data Centre locations worldwide to route and optimize application performance. Interoute Edge dynamically manages and optimizes application delivery into Interoute’s Cloud Fabric global network.
Interoute executives note five reasons an enterprise would use such a service:
- SD-WAN has the greatest benefit at the network edge, where the trade-off of cost, availability, and performance has the most significant impact.
- Interoute’s use of IP/MPLS traffic in the core supports flexible hybrid networking (even all public internet). Enterprises can mix different endpoint and traffic types, while having access to the virtual gateways in Interoute’s Virtual Data Centres for optimal application delivery.
- Interoute utilizes its own backbone network, optimized for lower latency and better performance than general-purpose internet access, which typically uses lowest-cost routing.
- Interoute executives believe the ability to break out traffic close to where a customer’s SaaS applications are hosted is a game changer. They point out that this can be particularly useful for enterprise locations in Asia or Europe that need to overcome latency and performance issues when using SaaS hosted in the US, or any other location that involves intercontinental traffic.
- The fifth advantage Interoute executives note is for enabling network integration or separation in M&A or divestment situations. Interoute Edge can connect and bridge disparate networks from different service providers, putting in place a solution that delivers the benefits of a unified IT landscape, while network managers negotiate underlying terms and provider contracts.
Interoute presents the three components that make up its Enterprise Digital Platform – edge, core, and cloud – as an interconnected way to boost end-to-end application performance across global networks. It represents another in an increasing number of ways Ovum has observed that operators are adopting SD-WAN to build differentiated, cloud-enabled managed services.
Interoute’s developed Enterprise Digital Platform uses a combination of the provider’s assembled expertise and resources at the edge, in the core, and in the cloud to deliver high-performance and low-latency experiences. For Interoute, SD-WAN and WAN optimization are among the key functions the provider can deploy at each customer end location, whether on- or off-net, using virtual network functions deployed on x86-based virtual customer premises equipment. The provider sees success and interest with both prospects and existing customer upgrades for its Enterprise Digital Platform, which appeals to Interoute’s core verticals, including manufacturing and industrials, retail, and business/professional services.