The safe road to SD-WAN

The safe road to SD-WAN runs through hybrid WAN architecture

Zabrina Doerck
Oct. 1 2019

Movie Trailer Voice:

IN A WORLD … where your business WAN was built on 20 year old technology … every SD-WAN solution provider is telling you that you have to “rip and replace” your MPLS network. However, one unlikely hero has a different story to tell … meet the Hybrid WAN.

But seriously. You’ve seen this movie before. SD-WAN 1.0 took the network world by storm and promised to solve all your Digital Transformation woes. But the ugly truth was that most solutions required a re-engineering of the entire network. I don’t know about your business, but most companies can’t afford the risk of upheaving all their MPLS links and moving to a 100% internet-based WAN. And they also can’t afford the 12-24 month timeline that it will take to reconfigure their complete router estate for a shiny new SD-WAN.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way. In reality, it’s completely possible to have all the power of an application-aware SD-WAN in as little as two months without re-architecting the network, and to start seeing digital ROI in less than 6 months.

The secret key? It starts with understanding hybrid WAN architecture, and how it can bridge the gap between your current WAN and the capabilities you need to support new technologies at your sites and deliver digital ROI for the business.

Hybrid WAN architecture offers the best of both worlds, with less risk and less stress

While there is a lot of push in the industry to leverage Internet-based WAN connectivity to reduce bandwidth costs and enable direct Internet connectivity at the branch office, most global businesses are continuing with the hybrid approach. The market is moving rapidly from an MPLS-only to hybrid WAN (Internet + MPLS) networking models – to reduce cost, enhance productivity, and drive engagement closer to the customer while maintaining the network performance required for mission-critical applications. Per Gartner, hybrid WAN architecture will gain prominence among enterprises with 70% of them deploying by 2020.

What does Hybrid WAN really mean?

Hybrid networks consist of a mix of network connectivity such as MPLS IP VPN, Switched Ethernet, IPSec VPN, and 4G/ 5G to connect the data center, branch offices, and cloud applications. This type of network architecture comes into play when enterprises move to a ‘cloud first’ or ‘all cloud’ model with their applications, which is typically driven by a need to modernize the business, improve employee productivity, enhance customer experience, and/or control costs.

For the businesses to manage a hybrid network environments effectively, they need to understand the performance needs of applications across the network, as well as the bandwidth consumed. They also need a way to ensure the performance of applications, in alignment with business objectives.

The challenge is that legacy hybrid WAN architecture deployments use static approaches to segment application traffic across available connectivity links. For instance, mission-critical applications such as unified communications and collaboration, payment processing, video surveillance, order management, etc. are configured to use MPLS or private transport links, while lightweight and less critical branch applications run on public Internet links.

Unfortunately, a static approach can’t meet the digital demands on today’s cloud-enabled business, where application priorities, quality of experience, and bandwidth demands are dynamic and unpredictable. Further, when deployed at scale, it becomes error prone and expensive.

To guarantee application performance, you need traffic steering that is intelligent, dynamic, predictive and automated. Additionally, it’s essential to launch and deploy these networks in an agile and simplified manner – reducing the strain of manual intervention and time-intensive configurations. Connecting branches in a speedy way is a critical requirement for today’s global enterprise.

SD-WAN 2.0 with Application Intelligence: Ensuring application performance and experience

SD-WAN, when coupled with deep application intelligence, can bring some key advancements to prioritize application traffic across the WAN dynamically. IT managers can set policies through a central controller, which enables the SD-WAN to act on them. This further allows SD-WAN to perform real-time orchestration of the network, through visibility and control, to determine the best route for each application, based on its priority.

Similarly, dynamic WAN selection (DWS) capability automatically routes applications over multiple active networks. With the help of DWS, network managers can guarantee delivery and availability of mission-critical applications, while steering them in real-time over the best available route.
Some of the critical characteristics of a successful SD-WAN solution to manage hybrid WAN architecture are:

  • Ease of management and zero-touch provisioning across multiple networks
  • Flexible deployment options at the edge or in a cloud (public or private)
  • SD-WAN routing and GW flexibility to support various deployment use cases to help enterprise seamlessly evolve to SD-WAN
    • SD-WAN service tunneled over Internet and MPLS WANs
    • SD-WAN service tunneled over Multiple ISPs
    • SD-WAN service with SD-WAN Edge vCPE supporting multiple VNFs
    • SD-WAN service with SD-WAN Edge VNF running in the Cloud
    • SD-WAN service interoperating with MPLS VPN
  • Integrated network security
  • Integrated WAN optimization capability
  • Business policy enforcement per site, per application, per user
  • DPI-based application visibility and quality control across diversified networks

Ipanema SD-WAN has a strong foundation in managing global hybrid WAN architecture deployments. Its unique Application Intelligence+ for the WAN Edge provides a market-proven solution that guarantees the performance and success of the organization’s entire digital application portfolio under any network conditions, and empowers enterprise CIOs to maximize their returns from digital investments.

You could have application-aware SD-WAN functionality today without re-architecting your network, especially with respect to application intelligence. The best road to SD-WAN for your WAN edge runs through Hybrid WAN and empowers enterprise CIOs to maximize their returns from digital investments.

Start a free trial of Ipanema SD-WAN today.

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