Passing the Baton – Conducting Centralized Business Orchestration with SD-WAN

The overture to business reality is ending for SD-WAN solutions. Now a company’s entire network, security and software operating environment is deployed in unison, it runs on hybrid infrastructure at the highest levels of service, and is adaptively prioritized to provide functionality at the edge, connecting users to critical apps, including voice and video.

Now the stage is set for business movement. The conductor anticipates the first note.

In a symphony, the conductor cues the entry and emphasis of each musician to keep the flow going. Without orchestration, the audience hears a cacophony of unsynchronized instruments, rather than music.

Centralized orchestration of SD-WAN is the final key to moving beyond managing devices to managing business movement through the network.

Passing the WAN baton to SD-WAN through Hybrid Cloud

Like most classic symphonies, the WAN didn’t change for a very long time. [And the people who produced the original works may have retired, or died!]

The advent of SD-WAN marked the first major transformation of the WAN in 25 years. All network components become instantly deployed and configurable software components, running on commoditized infrastructure.

Applications and data requests flow through the SD-WAN over the internet. Unlike the old WAN, the segmentation of traffic to maintain bandwidth can instantly select the best mode of transport, whether MPLS, 4G or broadband.

Now mix in several infrastructure options: on demand in the company’s data center, or on a combination of hybrid cloud services. The routing choices available to the SD-WAN business network — to a variety of user endpoints — becomes almost infinite.

These advances in speed, flexibility and cost savings introduce a new problem that threatens business success. When everything is virtually networked and running, there are simply too many moving parts. How to choose the best approach without analysis paralysis?

Coordinating work with centralized business-first orchestration

Here’s where our conductor steps into the middle of the SD-WAN orchestra to eliminate indecision, and keep things in order.

In a business-first networking model, orchestration prioritizes resources toward customer needs over codified technical and process considerations.

In practice, the IT or network team won’t start the orchestration journey alone — they may lean on a trusted service provider or channel partner for help.

More importantly, the SD-WAN orchestration plan always includes business leaders who are accountable for outcomes that impact customer satisfaction, employee success and the bottom line. Business professionals are essential in defining business intent.

A fully automated business-first SD-WAN would translate business intent into policies, which the orchestration controller uses for split-second decisions on allocating network resources, adjusting priorities, defining security policies, and optimally executing workloads across broadband and hybrid cloud environments, with little or no IT intervention required.

Conducting Business-First SD-WAN: more than just hand-waving

Here are some business intentions companies declare, and resulting policies the SD-WAN orchestration solution would produce:

Business-First Intention SD-WAN Orchestration Policy
Improve secure compliance for an important health monitoring device within hospitals as well as outpatient home care use. Identify and segment sensitive medical device data feeds on the first packet, instantly routing through a cloud security service to an approved white-listed monitoring app, which obscures private data for viewing analysts to comply with HIPAA policies. Unknown traffic or data types are immediately steered to quarantine for InfoSec teams.
Higher productivity and safety for remote services workforce, prioritizing critical voice and video calls first, then work management and parts ordering apps. Centrally define a bonding policy at the head of any voice/video stream, with path conditioning to dynamically mitigate jitter or latency to deliver the highest quality of experience to users. Real-time response with failover routing options for communications during blackouts or poor network coverage areas.
Rapidly provision and deploy several stores with an out-of-the box set of point-of-sale, corporate applications and “Guest wi-fi” that can be used without security risk to the business. Allow one-click setup and deployment of each store network, with predefined security zones for PCI-compliant transactional apps and banking functions, a retail employee group with authorized access to company apps, and a “guest Wi-Fi” zone with limited web privileges and lower bandwidth priority.

The Intellyx Take

Unlike many other IT undertakings where starting with a small pilot project is best, the value of SD-WAN orchestration increases with the number of sites and services it automatically manages on the new business-first network edge.

To be effective, SD-WAN orchestration must coordinate the flow of every workload and data stream with full automation and split-second responsiveness. It should wrap the entire network-driven service delivery model with business intent and appropriate security exactly where it is called for, as any element that is not tightly synchronized will quickly become apparent as a constraint to success.

Centralized business orchestration is the final key to successful widespread enterprise adoption of SD-WAN. Or, in symphonic terms, it’s the big finish.

This Intellyx BrainBlog, fourth in a series of four, focused on the centralized business orchestration property of Business-First SD-WAN networks. It expanded upon blogs about 1) the benefits of implementing a unified WAN edge, and 2) delivering the highest levels of service and connectivity to remote locations, as well as 3) the Self-Adaptive nature of AI in SD-WAN networks. These posts were fully orchestrated.

 © 2019 Intellyx LLC. At the time of this writing, Silver Peak is a client of Intellyx. No other companies or persons mentioned in this article are clients of Intellyx. Original photo source (edited) by PersianDutchNetwork, WikiCommons.