Modern Cloud-first Enterprises Require Intelligent Internet Breakout

Traditional Networks Were Never Designed for the Cloud

Prior to the advent of the cloud, IT was simply a department in an organization where users would go to get their phone issues resolved or their computers fixed. Today, IT plays a far more strategic role in the enterprise and is a key enabler of business growth. As enterprises embrace digital transformation, the rapid adoption of SaaS applications and the migration of enterprise workloads to IaaS, it has become critical for businesses to view their IT investments as a way to maintain a competitive edge. Achieving the highest SaaS and IaaS-hosted application performance is no longer an option but a present day imperative. Any additional latency encountered while accessing SaaS applications or IaaS workloads directly impacts end user quality of experience and business productivity. Dissatisfied users can mean lost customers, prospects, and employees, all of which are critical from a business standpoint.

To mitigate latency challenges, enterprises have traditionally signed SLA agreements with their service providers and typically subscribed to a private MPLS transport services. Provisioning a private leased line connection such as MPLS can be an expensive proposition. Even though it is costly, many enterprises continue to make investments in MPLS because it delivers consistent, predictable network performance and latency. Enterprises can configure unique QoS policies based on their business and application requirements, and the connection forwards packets accordingly. An SLA is guaranteed, and a better connection assures the quality of experience for application users.

Unlike traditional data center hosted applications, SaaS applications and IaaS workloads have changed network traffic patterns, and to deliver the highest quality of experience, IT must transform the network. Traditionally, remote users at branch sites would connect to data center applications using an MPLS connection. But the world has changed. Cloud applications like Salesforce, Box, and Zoom and public cloud infrastructures like AWS, Azure, and GCP are causing enterprises to re-think their networks. Today, with the majority of workloads running in the cloud, new challenges are emerging. For instance, using an MPLS connection to backhaul all cloud-destined branch traffic to the on-premise data center no longer makes sense. It results in network congestion and adds latency not to mention unnecessarily consuming expensive MPLS bandwidth. And latency is the number one enemy of delivering a high-quality user experience. The more latency that’s introduced into the network path between the user and the application, the more the user experience degrades. To counter this latency challenge, enterprises are deploying an SD-WAN that enables secure local internet breakout, automatically directing cloud-destined branch traffic directly to the cloud using broadband internet. So, why not send all cloud-destined traffic over the internet?

Intelligent Internet Breakout

One of the more important benefits of SD-WAN is that it enables enterprises to reliably and securely use broadband internet services to connect branch users to cloud applications and services. To counter the unpredictable nature of the internet, the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect™ SD-WAN edge platform offers advanced path conditioning features. This capability corrects for lost and out-of-order packets by reconstructing or re-sequencing them at the receiving end, overcoming the impact of packet loss typically observed on internet connections. But Silver Peak hasn’t stopped there. We recently added a new feature to the EdgeConnect platform, called the “Intelligent Internet Breakout” that optimizes SaaS application traffic.

With intelligent internet breakout, EdgeConnect automatically identifies, and classifies applications and selects the best performing internet connection to connect users to a SaaS application based on the link performance when two or more internet services have been provisioned. This robust feature improves the path selection intelligence for customers that breakout internet traffic locally to deliver the optimal SaaS application performance.

Often customers provision two or more WAN links from remote branch sites to increase network and application availability and performance. To optimize utilization of the provisioned WAN internet links, EdgeConnect monitors the performance of the links in real-time by continuously measuring packet loss, jitter, latency, and mean opinion score (MOS). EdgeConnect uses statistical learning to dynamically determine the optimal link for breaking out traffic, thus maintaining peak application performance. This optimizes internet break out traffic to deliver the highest SaaS and cloud application performance (see Figure 1). Configuring these policies is fully automated within the Silver Peak Unity Orchestrator™ management interface and doesn’t require any manual configuration. Orchestrator also enables configuration of an automated policy for finding the best path for that traffic over the SD-WAN fabric, across MPLS or another WAN service, in the rare case that both underlying internet links are underperforming or unavailable (see Figure 2).

Figure 1: To optimize utilization of the provisioned WAN internet links (ISP 1 and ISP 2), EdgeConnect monitors the performance of the two links by continuously measuring the packet loss, jitter, latency and mean opinion score (MOS) in real-time. Using statistical learning, EdgeConnect dynamically select ISP 1 to send traffic to the SaaS application.
Figure 2: If both ISP 1 and ISP 2 connections become unavailable, EdgeConnect automatically chooses the configured backup transport service that backhauls traffic through the data center.

Highest End-user Quality of Experience

Selecting the best path to direct packets eliminates any additional latency experienced by your SaaS applications and IaaS workloads. This delivers the highest quality of experience to users and results in happy customers, prospects, and employees. In addition, intelligent internet breakout can also be used to automatically address brownout or blackout conditions on any link. For instance, if a branch is served by one MPLS connection and one internet connection, before sending any packets over the internet connection, the EdgeConnect appliance confirms the connection quality. If for some reason, the internet connection is experiencing loss, latency, jitter or MOS greater than a pre-configured threshold, the EdgeConnect appliance will automatically select the MPLS connection to send packets. This ensures that no matter what happens, enterprise applications, whether hosted in the data center, hosted in IaaS, UCaaS, or SaaS, always operate at peak performance. The new Silver Peak intelligent internet breakout feature dramatically improves business productivity while enabling businesses to increase efficiency.

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