As global enterprises continue to adopt and deploy SD-WAN as a key enabler of cloud and digital transformation initiatives, they must also consider the importance of infrastructure scalability to accommodate the dynamic nature of connecting users to business applications and services regardless of where they are physically located. This is driving an increased focus on ease-of-use, automation, and orchestration, which industry analyst firm Futuriom cites as one of the top features of SD-WAN functionality.
Why is this becoming increasingly important? Many large-scale global enterprises have multiple divisions, business units or subsidiaries that may each require a dedicated SD-WAN fabric to comply with company financial policies, geography, business jurisdiction or regulatory requirements or simply to create independent administrative domains. Each fabric can be individually orchestrated and managed yet still provides centralized network-wide visibility and control, including aggregated observability of the entire network.
In parallel, the enterprise WAN is rapidly evolving, and the definition of an endpoint is also changing. We live in a world of connected devices, with IoT and mobility placing additional burden on the network and requiring the ability to scale in line with this expansion. Gartner predicts that this exponential growth of IoT and connected devices will exceed 5.8 billion enterprise and automotive endpoints by the year end. Today, a site can include a communications device in a first responder’s backpack, security cameras on a cruise ship, sensors on an industrial conveyer belt, an ATM machine in a kiosk, or even a wind turbine. And as the number of “sites” amasses, how can an SD-WAN scale to support tens of thousands of sites?
SD-WAN can provide faster rollouts by both leveraging greater automation to deliver on expanded enterprise scale requirements and by simultaneously simplifying IT operations. Silver Peak recently introduced Unity Orchestrator Global Enterprise. This new management offering enables enterprises to centrally manage and monitor multiple SD-WAN fabrics, allowing network managers to segment networks while at the same time retaining a unified view of the entire network. Key capabilities include:
- Single sign-on view to multiple SD-WAN fabrics
- Secure cloud-hosted orchestration-as-a-service
- Centralized alarm view across all SD-WAN fabrics
- Fabric independent software versioning, maintenance and upgrade cycles
- Granular role-based access control for network administrators and end user customers
Let’s examine a real-world example of how this can apply: A global enterprise with multiple and diverse business units wants to leverage SD-WAN for all of its businesses (Figure 1).
The first business unit manufactures and distributes automobiles, a second operates hotels and leisure properties in the consumer hospitality segment, and a third division operates a retail bank. Each of these business units has different business requirements that drive unique priorities and policies for application performance and security. The auto division may host engineering design applications in Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, while the retail banking division may require secure access to ATM machines across any type of underlay network including leveraging a 4G LTE option for failover. The hospitality segment might want to locally breakout any business-critical cloud-hosted applications, such as Ingenico or Verifone credit card verification, or enable hotels to offer new high-priority interactive remote gaming kiosks in the hotel lobby. And if the automotive business unit decides to shift design engineering applications hosted in AWS to Azure, the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect™ SD-WAN edge platform offers simple, one-click cloud connectivity automation that provides the flexibility to independently accommodate this change without impacting any of the other business units or branch sites connecting to AWS or Azure.
New IoT and mobile edge solutions will play an increasingly critical role in the underlying digital transformation strategies of most global enterprises, making it vital that they select an SD-WAN platform that is expressly designed to maximize the scalability, security and automation for any application. The Silver Peak EdgeConnect SD-WAN Edge platform combined with Orchestrator Global Enterprise can help enterprises successfully execute WAN transformation, enabling IT administrators to build and manage larger SD-WANs with multiple fabrics that support tens of thousands of endpoints, easily extending the network to public clouds.