Top Ten Reasons to Think Outside the Router #5: Manual CLI-based Configuration and Management

We’re now more than half-way through 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 #6, #7, #8, #9 and #10 reasons to retire traditional branch routers.

The #5 reason it’s time to retire conventional routers at the branch: manual CLI-based configuration and management is old school and won’t scale, limiting business agility!

Challenges of a CLI

A WAN model based on conventional routers usually requires manually configuring every device in the network to affect a change such as deploying a new application or changing QoS or security policies, using an arcane CLI. The CLI has been the primary interface for interacting with routers for more than 30 years. While the CLI is comprehensive in scope, the manual process for operating, managing and troubleshooting networks is complex, cumbersome, error-prone and requires endless hours of programming.

CLI Emergent Behavior

With conventional routers, translating business intent into network behavior is attempted via manual and scripted-per-device CLI commands. For example, a business may have specific requirements for network site connectivity, security, and end-user quality of experience. To implement such requirements, the network team starts by manually typing individual CLI commands into each individual router at each individual site. The likelihood of consistent policy definition decreases as the number of sites increase. The network team might create templates to save time, but eventually, IT will need to troubleshoot a problem or add or modify a policy to a specific router at a specific site. This results in configuration drift and, over time, the likelihood for each site to become unique. It also increases complexity when IT needs to troubleshoot a problem or to add or modify a policy company-wide. The entire process significantly increases expense and overhead and is completely inefficient.

How a business-first SD-WAN can streamline WAN management

As businesses continue to embrace a cloud-first strategy, manually configuring and managing each site on a device-by-device basis using a CLI impedes business transformation. This bottoms-up approach starts at the network layer where IT must manually configure the routes, ACL policies and VLANs. It constrains the business as applications must fit within the boundaries of the defined network policies where change cycles are slow, resulting in unsustainable economics in the cloud-first era.

In contrast, Silver Peak offers a business-driven SD-WAN edge platform where top-down business intent is the driver. It enables IT to apply policies based on business intent that can be translated into network policies, such that the priorities of the business are always reflected in the way the network behaves. Because configuration is performed via the centralized GUI-based Unity Orchestrator™ without a CLI or manual scripting, human errors are minimized, maintaining continuous compliance.

Since not all SD-WAN solutions are created equal, companies should seek a business-driven SD-WAN that:

  1. Centrally orchestrates all network services from a single pane of glass that is intuitive and simple to configure and deploy
  2. Ensures consistent configurations and continuous compliance across all branch locations in accordance with business intent
  3. Intelligently steers traffic based on business intent and not TCP/IP addresses and ACLs
  4. Accelerates deployments and eliminates the requirement for specialized IT resources at each branch site with secure zero-touch provisioning

A Business Intent Model at Work
Mazars, a top 10 UK-based accountancy firm, deployed the Unity EdgeConnect™ unified SD-WAN edge platform to connect users to applications across its international sites in Delhi, Sydney, Toronto, and New York. EdgeConnect provided the firm with unprecedented visibility and control of data center and cloud-based applications. Its unique ability to centrally assign business intent policies and secure and control all applications traffic will enable the company to achieve its future mission of embracing a fully cloud-based environment using Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and other SaaS and IaaS services. Furthermore, it allowed them to build a high-performance and reliable architecture, turning their network into a business accelerant.

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