Digital transformation and cloud initiatives are changing the way IT organizations are thinking about and architecting the wide area network. It is estimated that over 70 percent of applications have already moved to the cloud. Yet, the transformational promise of the cloud is falling short as conventional networks can’t keep pace with demands of the cloud. Why? Because today’s router-centric and basic SD-WAN architectures have either hit the wall or can’t keep up with traffic pattern shifts, distributed applications and the open security perimeters inherent to the cloud. This blog will explore the limitations of today’s WAN approaches, offering a better way forward with a business-first networking model.
Traditional Router-centric WAN
The traditional router-centric model is network-driven, where businesses are forced to conform to the constraints of the network. Enterprises struggle trying to stretch the old router-centric WAN – it’s too cumbersome and complicated and is simply unable to meet the business needs of a cloud-first enterprise. Cloud-first enterprise business requirements include:
- Using the internet to connect users directly to cloud applications
- Delivering new applications to 1000s of sites, across multiple clouds, in 10 percent of the time
- Delivering 10x more bandwidth at the edge, for the same budget
- Protecting the business when the cloud is open, accessible and everything is connected
- Continuously delivering a WOW application performance for every business-critical application
Basic SD-WAN Solutions
To address the requirements of cloud-first businesses, a plethora of SD-WAN solutions have emerged in the past few years. Basic SD-WAN solutions are a step in the right direction but fall well short of the goal of a fully automated business-driven network. A basic SD-WAN provides some level of automation and intelligence, but it is unable to continuously and automatically adapt to changing network conditions. A basic SD-WAN solution can’t deliver a consistent WOW experience for real-time voice and video applications, especially over broadband. Furthermore, with a basic SD-WAN, IT is unable to deliver a simplified end-to-end secure segmentation across the LAN-WAN-LAN/Data Center to minimize the attack surface. A basic SD-WAN also won’t deliver on the promised savings in operational costs. The graphic below illustrates the short falls of a basic SD-WAN offering.
The Time is Now to Shift to a Business-driven SD-WAN
With a business-driven SD-WAN, the network becomes a business enabler, not a constraint. It acts as a business accelerant with a top-down approach that starts with business intent. Business intent defines how applications should be delivered to end users. Business intent can include performance, priority, security, resiliency, routing, etc. that should be applied to different classes of applications. With a business-driven SD-WAN, network resources are matched – automatically – based on the business priority and security requirements for every application. The network continuously monitors the performance of applications and transport resources and automatically adapts to any changes to remain in compliance with application QoS and security policies. A business-driven SD-WAN delivers the highest quality of experience for users with consistent, reliable application performance – including the highest quality voice and video over broadband.
The highest quality of experience doesn’t stop with users. With centralized orchestration, a business-driven SD-WAN minimizes human error, makes changes easier and enables faster response to business needs. A business-driven SD-WAN goes beyond the automation and templates of basic SD-WAN solutions to power a self-driving wide area network™ that learns and adapts to the changing requirements of the business to ensure the highest levels of end user and application performance. It eliminates the impact of brownouts and blackouts as monitoring and analytics detect changing conditions and trigger immediate adjustments. Built-in monitoring, alarms/alerts and reporting enables faster troubleshooting when issues occur. With a highly available, resilient, business-driven SD-WAN, IT can reclaim their weekends and sleep through the night! A unified platform is designed as one unifying and orchestrating network functions such as SD-WAN, firewall, segmentation, routing, WAN optimization, application visibility and control based on business requirements. With service chaining, to ecosystem partners (security, cloud and service providers), existing investments can be fully leveraged with rapid deployment, interoperating with full and open APIs.
In this table, a comparison of router-centric, basic SD-WAN and business-driven SD-WAN shows that enterprises get the most value and benefits from shifting to a business-first networking model.
Click on the infographic for a full summary of the WAN edge architecture approaches.
With an interactive ROI calculator, you can calculate savings between a business-driven SD-WAN from Silver Peak and a traditional router-centric SD-WAN. Click here to calculate your savings right now.