Digital transformation is happening now, and fast. It includes cloud, services, and mobile. It’s hybrid, it’s the internet, it’s the user. Most importantly, it’s the seamless orchestration of all these things together.
Such orchestration can only be achieved by the one thing that connects everything: the network. In the highly centralised, controlled, and self-contained enterprise IT environments of the past, static hardware-based networking worked ok. But today, apps are both on-premises and in the cloud. Networks are both private and public. Users are mobile as well as remote. IT is more distributed, fragmented, and dynamic than ever. Taming this chaos of hybrid apps, hybrid networks, and mobile users demands a new approach to networking based on policy automation and real-time orchestration of all components of connectivity and access. That new approach is software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN).
This is a period of significant growth for SD-WAN as we move past the initial hype phase. Many companies have done pilot projects and proofs-of-concept and are now moving to enterprise-scale. With successful large scale deployments, SD-WAN is becoming a trusted technology critical to maximising the value of the cloud.
But what are the requirements and capabilities needed in an SD-WAN solution that will drive maximum success for business? Creating an enterprise-scale software-defined connectivity and orchestration fabric requires the ability to:
- Manage centrally from a cloud console with a complete view of the connectivity fabric that unifies all enterprise networks, from the hybrid WAN at branch locations, into cloud infrastructure environments and even reaching to the end user with branch wireless and wired LAN networks.
The goal for network management going forward is that it can be performed centrally via policy using a pane of glass that provides a comprehensive view of your enterprise connectivity fabric that connects datacentre and cloud apps with branch and mobile users, all in an integrated management platform that spans and unifies hybrid WANs, cloud networks, and branch wireless and wired LANs with a single policy framework.
- Orchestrate globally with business-aligned policies that automate enforcement of performance objectives and access privileges for all apps/users, wherever they may be.
For today’s hybrid enterprise, an effective SD-WAN solution must apply the power of software-defined and business policy-based orchestration across the entire connectivity fabric, spanning hybrid WANs, cloud networks, and branch wireless and wired LANs.
The goal is to use business-aligned, policy-based automation to define quality of service and access privileges for all apps and users, combined with automated path selection, end-to-end performance monitoring, WAN optimisation, and security.
To achieve this goal, your SD-WAN solution must include a range of innovations that solve the hardcore technical issues involved in global orchestration.
- Deploy remotely with zero-touch activation of on-prem network components, and “one-click” extension into cloud networks.
With cloud-based apps, every user is remote. An effective SD-WAN solution must extend the enterprise connectivity and orchestration fabric from the central place of management to provide all users, whether employees, partners, or customers, wherever they are located, with easy, secure, high-performing access to the applications and data they need.
The goal is to deploy locally with zero touch via automated activation of all necessary secure WAN gateways, branch LAN switches, Wi-Fi access points, firewalls and WAN optimisation; instant extension of your connectivity fabric into cloud networks with one click; and simple, non-disruptive extension of SD-WAN to on-prem datacentres.
As enterprises digitally transform, their networks must provide seamless access to digital services for end-users. But, with IT more distributed, hybrid, and dynamic than ever, hardware-bound legacy networks can never fulfil this promise. Taming the chaos of IT requires a new approach to networking.
This is the promise of SD-WAN: the ability to use business policies to automate and orchestrate all the components of digital access across a global, unified network. We partner with Riverbed, who are at the centre of hybrid networking, the cloud, SD-WAN, SaaS, mobile, big data, and infrastructure visibility. In short, they are building a software-defined architecture for digital business.
‘SD-WAN step beyond the Cloud’ extracts taken from Riverbed whitepaper entitled ‘Key Requirements for SD-WAN: Rethink Networking for the Cloud Era’.