Top Benefits of SD-WAN

Building a Better WAN with a Complete Solution

Not all SD-WANs are created equal. By building a better WAN with Silver Peak, customers realize an extended range of benefits:

SD-WAN Cost vs. legacy WAN

Lower WAN OPEX and CAPEX

Realizing ROI for Software-Defined Networking (SDN) in the campus LAN or even the data center has proven elusive. But not so with SD-WANs. The ROI is dramatic and immediate. With an SD-WAN solution from Silver Peak, you can now augment or even replace MPLS connections with broadband internet services to connect users to applications and lower WAN costs by up to 90%.

A simplified, centrally managed SD-WAN architecture also lowers OPEX. The Silver Peak Unity Orchestrator enables rapid branch deployments with zero-touch provisioning. Bringing a new branch or remote location online is easy and can be done in just a few minutes: connect a Unity EdgeConnect appliance, physical or virtual, to the LAN and WAN links serving the branch, plug it in and turn it on. No specialized IT expertise is required on premise at the branch.

SD-WAN Zero-Touch Provisioning
Zero-Touch Provisioning and Centralized Orchestration streamlines IT operations while increasing business agility.

EdgeConnect automatically “calls home” to the Orchestrator where an existing configuration is downloaded to the branch appliance. When any configuration changes are needed, IT programs them centrally on the Orchestrator and with a single click, changes are automatically “pushed” to all of the EdgeConnect SD-WAN appliances across the WAN.

While all existing WAN equipment is fully compatible with EdgeConnect SD-WAN appliances, Silver Peak can also consolidate branch office equipment requirements. EdgeConnect integrates routing, basic firewalling and WAN optimization functions for “broadband-only” installations, further lowering CAPEX.

Greater Business Agility and Responsiveness

SD-WAN Path Conditioning – Silver Peak Live View

The speed of business continues to accelerate. Competition is fiercer than ever; customer expectations are higher than ever. Today’s businesses run on applications and rely on connectivity, and when you’re opening up new sites or branches, time is money.

Geographically distributed organizations often have hundreds or even thousands of branch offices connected to hub or headquarters’ sites. For security reasons, cloud-based application traffic is often backhauled from the branch across expensive WAN links to a hub site before being handed off to the Internet. Not only is this expensive, but performance is often compromised due to WAN bandwidth constraints at the branch and added latency from backhauling connections.

A solution is to use direct Internet connectivity that provides simpler and consistent performance to cloud-based applications. With a Silver Peak SD-WAN, Internet connections become secure and reliable.

Spinning up a traditional WAN service or enhancing an existing one can take weeks or even months from the time the order is placed with a service provider, although ubiquitous broadband internet services are available virtually on demand. By using broadband for WAN connectivity, a branch can be online in hours instead of weeks.

Increased Application Performance Across the WAN

Performance Matters

Applications are the lifeblood of every business today. If applications are down, business stops. If applications run slowly, worker productivity drops often resulting in revenue lost forever. And now, many business-essential applications run in the cloud and are accessed by internet connections.

Geographically distributed organizations often have hundreds or even thousands of branch offices connected to hub or headquarters’ sites. For security reasons, cloud-based application traffic is often backhauled from the branch across expensive WAN links to a hub site before being handed off to the internet. Not only is this expensive, but performance is often compromised due to WAN bandwidth constraints at the branch and added latency from backhauling connections. Using direct internet connectivity that provides predictable performance to cloud-based applications and simply makes good sense.

SD-WAN Path Conditioning – Silver Peak Live View
Silver Peak Live View monitors network underlay and overlay performance in real time. Path Conditioning assures application performance, even when the underlying transport services experience brownout conditions.

But the internet has a reputation for unreliable data transmission. To address this shortcoming, Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect includes sophisticated path conditioning techniques that can reconstruct packets lost in transit, avoiding re-transmission. EdgeConnect overcomes performance issues of the underlying transport rather than simply routing traffic around the problem. This ultimately provides better resource utilization, higher application performance, improved productivity, a better user experience and lower bandwidth costs.

Another SD-WAN value proposition is to use ALL of the available bandwidth, not just choose between path A and path B. However, path selection must also prioritize business-critical applications over less important apps. Silver Peak’s unique tunnel bonding creates application-specific virtual WAN overlays from multiple physical WAN links. Traffic is routed using all available bandwidth on multiple links. But should a link fail, the remaining paths keep the application up and your business running.

SD-WAN Is Not a Substitute for WAN Optimization

TCP Acceleration and SD-WAN
TCP Acceleration overcomes latency limitations to improve application response time and business productivity.

To clear up one common misconception, SD-WANs do not obsolete the need for WAN Optimization. WAN Optimization is all about improving application performance over distance and transporting large data sets efficiently. All the bandwidth in the world doesn’t diminish the physical distance, and therefore the latency, between offices in London and San Francisco. Many TCP/IP applications require handshaking or acknowledgements between end points before more data can be sent. Application acceleration shortcuts the handshaking to compensate for path latency, resulting in much better application response time, ultimately improving business productivity.

Silver Peak Unity Boost is an optional software performance pack that seamlessly adds WAN optimization to the EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution. Boost is licensed where needed on a per megabit-per-second and per site basis. It provides a single, fully integrated WAN solution, delivering the highest levels of application performance.

Silver Peak Boost also includes features that save bandwidth and significantly reduce the time it takes to transfer large amounts of data. Data deduplication and compression minimize transmission of repetitive data. This frees up bandwidth for other application traffic which saves even more money. And, it allows IT to complete backups within their allotted time window.

High Application Availability

Silver Peak SD-WAN solutions bring a new level of high availability to applications. Previously, traffic for a specific application was mapped to a single WAN service. Silver Peak’s tunnel bonding technology pools connectivity from multiple sources to create a single logical connection from one, two or more different WAN links. For example, an MPLS link plus a broadband link or two broadband links can be part of a bonded tunnel overlay. Usually multiple logical tunnels are configured for the SD-WAN to deliver different levels of priority and QoS, often referred to as an application Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Silver Peak’s EdgeConnect Packet Order Correction feature

Application traffic is mapped to a primary bonded tunnel based on its performance and availability requirements. Packets may be sent across all the available physical links, and Silver Peak’s Packet Order Correction feature keeps things in order, even if the delay varies between the different paths. When a path fails, EdgeConnect automatically utilizes alternate paths, and in high availability bonding mode, EdgeConnect can cope with transport brown-outs and black-outs without losing any application packets, avoiding interruption to the application.

Assure Business Intent with Advanced Application Visibility and Control

Gaining visibility into the traffic running across the WAN is the first step toward gaining control. Silver Peak SD-WAN solutions not only provide deep application intelligence but also give IT the ability to align application priority and performance to business intent. Enterprises benefit from unprecedented levels of visibility into both legacy and cloud applications and gain the ability to assign policies to secure and control all WAN traffic.

Silver Peak provides real-time and historical tracking and end-user application and network performance. Unity Orchestrator monitors throughput, loss, latency, and jitter of all network paths, with alarms and alerts that allow for faster resolution of service provider issues.

With visibility should also come control. Silver Peak’s robust packet inspection engine identifies applications based on the first packet which enables the SD-WAN to rapidly make decisions based on the nature of the data. Once the application is identified, our Dynamic Path Control optimizes the WAN data path based on the required QoS policy and real-time quality of the WAN service - internet, MPLS, LTE or any combination. First packet application identification facilitates efficient service chaining and also mitigates security risks and enables the SD-WAN to adapt automatically to changing conditions.

Robust Edge-to-edge Security and Micro-segmentation

SD-WAN Micro-segmentation

The internet has historically been too insecure for enterprise WANs. Silver Peak EdgeConnect mitigates security concerns by building 256-bit encrypted tunnels, edge-to-edge, between every site in the SD-WAN. This hardens the internet with the security of a VPN, but without the complexity of provisioning and configuring a VPN. With Silver Peak, the internet becomes as reliable and secure as a private line.

Advances in data center security now include the ability to segment traffic based on application characteristics and policies, known as micro-segmentation. Creating an SD-WAN using virtual overlays allows micro-segmentation to extend beyond the data center. For example, a virtual WAN overlay can be created to transport a financial application with specific QoS and security requirements while isolating and handling guest Wi-Fi traffic across a different virtual overlay.

Every Silver Peak EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution includes encryption, WAN hardening and micro-segmentation. We’ve also established technology alliances with security industry leaders such as Zscaler. When EdgeConnect is deployed directly onto the internet in branch offices, Zscaler enables employees to access the internet securely by scanning all incoming and outgoing traffic between the EdgeConnect appliances and the internet to identify and block potential threats.

Extensibility to 3rd Party Solutions via Service Chaining

While many SD-WAN products are an all or nothing proposition, Silver Peak delivers unmatched flexibility and deployment options. We believe our customers should have the ability to build a better WAN at their own pace. This is why our solutions are extensible and non-disruptively interoperate with what you have today. There is no need to rip and replace existing infrastructure. Whether it’s by service chaining multiple layer 4 through 7 devices or enabling a “migrate at your own pace” approach to adoption by interoperating with legacy routers, EdgeConnect is the most extensible SD-WAN solution available.