Top Ten Reasons to Think Outside the Router #1: It’s Time for a Router Refresh

We’re now at the end of our homage to the iconic David Letterman Top Ten List segment from his former Late Show, as Silver Peak counts down the Top Ten Reasons to Think Outside the Router. Click for the #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9 and #10 reasons to retire traditional branch routers.

The #1 reason it’s time to retire conventional routers at the branch: your branch routers are coming due for a refresh – the perfect time to evaluate new options

Your WAN architecture is due for a branch router refresh! You’re under immense pressure to advance your organization’s digital transformation initiatives and deliver a high quality of experience to your users and customers. Your applications – at least SaaS apps – are all cloud-based. You know you need to move more quickly to keep pace with changing business requirements to realize the transformational promise of the cloud. And, you’re dealing with shifting traffic patterns and an insatiable appetite for more bandwidth at branch sites to support your users and applications. Finally, you know your IT budget for networking isn’t going to increase.

Router-centric Model vs Business-first ModelSo, what’s next? You really only have three options when it comes to refreshing your WAN. You can continue to try and stretch your conventional router-centric model. You can choose a basic SD-WAN model that may or may not be good enough. Or you can take a new approach and deploy a business-driven SD-WAN edge platform.

The pitfalls of a router-centric model

The router-centric approach worked well when enterprise applications were hosted in the data center; before the advent of the cloud. All traffic was routed directly from branch offices to the data center. With the emergence of the cloud, businesses were forced to conform to the constraints of the network when deploying new applications or making network changes. This is a bottoms-up device centric approach in which the network becomes a bottleneck to the business.

A router-centric approach requires manual device-by-device configuration that results in endless hours of manual programming, making it extremely difficult for network administrators to scale without experiencing major challenges in configuration, outages and troubleshooting. Any changes that arise when deploying a new application or changing a QoS or security policy, once again requires manually programming every router at every branch across the network. Re-programming is time consuming and requires utilizing a complex, cumbersome CLI, further adding to the inefficiencies of the model. In short, the router-centric WAN has hit the wall.

Basic SD-WAN, a step in the right direction

Basic SD-WAN vs Business-First modelIn this model, businesses realize the benefit of foundational features, but this model falls short of the goal of a fully automated, business-driven network. A basic SD-WAN approach is unable to provide what the business really needs, including the ability to deliver the best Quality of Experience for users.

Some of the basic SD-WAN features include the ability to use multiple forms of transport, path selection, centralized management, zero-touch provisioning and encrypted VPN overlays. However, a basic SD-WAN lacks in many areas:

  • Limited end-to-end orchestration of WAN edge network functions
  • Rudimentary path selection with traffic steering limited to pre-defined rules
  • Long fail-over times in response to WAN transport outages
  • Inability to use links when they experience brownouts due to link congestion or packet loss
  • Fixed application definitions and manually scripted ACLs to control traffic steering across the internet

The solution: shift to a business-first networking model

Business-First Networking ModelIn this model, the network enables the business. The WAN is transformed into a business accelerant that is fully automated and continuous, giving every application the resources it truly needs while delivering 10x the bandwidth for the same budget – ultimately achieving the highest quality of experience to users and IT alike. With a business-first networking model, the network functions (SD-WAN, firewall, segmentation, routing, WAN optimization and application visibility and control) are unified in a single platform and are centrally orchestrated and managed. Top-down business intent is the driver, enabling businesses to unlock the full transformational promise of the cloud.

The business-driven Silver Peak® EdgeConnect™ SD-WAN edge platform was built for the cloud, enabling enterprises to liberate their applications from the constraints of existing WAN approaches. EdgeConnect offers the following advanced capabilities:

  1. Automates traffic steering and security policy enforcement based on business intent instead of TCP/IP addresses, delivering the highest Quality of Experience for users
  2. Actively embraces broadband to increase application performance and availability while lowering costs
  3. Securely and directly connect branch users to SaaS and IaaS cloud services
  4. Increases operational efficiency while increasing business agility and time-to-market via centralized orchestration

Silver Peak has more than 1,000 enterprise customer deployments across a range of vertical industries. Bentley Systems, Nuffield Health and Solis Mammography have all realized tangible business outcomes from their EdgeConnect deployments.

Real-World Business Outcomes

Learn why the time is now to think outside the router!