SD-WAN orchestration

The benefits of SD-WAN orchestration

Zabrina Doerck
Sep. 16 2020

Many readers will be familiar with the key benefits of SD-WAN itself, namely the automation, flexibility and control it brings to complex, distributed heterogenous networks, to deliver a quality user experience. Read about the key benefits of SD-WAN in this short overview.

If you want to dynamically provision and centrally control distributed edge sites based upon business policies, SD-WAN is the way forward.

But what about SD-WAN orchestration?

In brief, SD-WAN orchestration enables the programable automation of behaviors within the WAN. It coordinates networking software and hardware communications to support applications and services over diverse WAN circuits and application hosting environments.

In this short blog post, we’ll examine these ideas in more detail and discuss the positive implications for your network of adopting an SD-WAN approach.

What is SD-WAN orchestration?

SD-WAN orchestration is a centralized administrative service model that provides secure, (ideally) cloud-delivered WAN control and management. It automates network admin functions to streamline and simplify the management of distributed network operations. SD-WAN delivered “as a service” enables managed service providers and enterprises to access an orchestrator from a protected web service portal, in order to centrally manage and monitor SD-WAN branch (edge) deployments based on business policies.

SD-WAN orchestration can simplify control of the hybrid WAN 

SD-WAN orchestration makes it possible to centrally manage multiple WAN circuits, like MPLS, DIA (broadband and LTE), making network management simpler and more efficient. The best SD-WAN solutions have transparent hybrid capabilities that enable seamless abstraction of both underlay (for MPLS) and overlay (over internet) under the same orchestration, while SD-WAN branch devices automatically detect the orchestrator and apply the business rules for application delivery based on policy for the entire SD-WAN-managed fabric.

Unfortunately, most solutions on the market require deployment as overlay over both MPLS and internet; as a result the business must re-architect the network, which is time-consuming, costly and disruptive. The Ipanema SD-WAN solution addresses this challenge through its transparent hybrid WAN capability, which introduces a device into the network that is functionally “invisible” to other network elements, delivering complete orchestration and application visibility and control over all types of transport in the hybrid WAN, without the typical hardware and infrastructure replacement required.

Cloud + automation makes things quick and easy

It cannot be overstated: the purpose of SD-WAN is to make managing the network easier and more efficient. To this end, automation and cloud delivery are critical components. The ideal SD-WAN solution should allow automated configuration, zero-touch provisioning, and  cloud-delivered orchestration through a single-pane-of-glass interface. If an SD-WAN solution is not cloud-delivered, there is a risk that the network is not running on the most up-to-date version of software, resulting in potential performance and security risks. If it’s not cloud-delivered it may also fail to provide hands-free, automated provisioning and configuration. This creates an increased risk for error, and implementation could be complex and time-consuming.

Orchestration delivers intrinsic policy-based security 

People often ask the question, how does SD-WAN deliver security? Central orchestration delivers security as an intrinsic function of policy-based routing. Secure tunnels are created and orchestrated based on business and topological requirements. In the case of Ipanema SD-WAN, tunnels are only set up between sites that require them. For example, the orchestrator will not set up a tunnel for an MPLS circuit. 

When branch appliances are deployed, they immediately begin sending their data to the orchestrator. As data is gathered, important WAN information is being discovered, such as what applications are running, and how they’re performing. Performance is measured by the quality of the user experience, and includes application SLA enforcement and reporting.

Many SD-WAN solutions include both a controller and an orchestrator. The controller coordinates between the branch devices and the orchestrator. A novel approach that we take at Infovista eliminates the need for a separate controller. This reduces implementation time and eliminates complexity.

Ultimately, a solid SD-WAN solution should enable IT to design the WAN that best meets their business needs, incorporating orchestration technologies that automate and simplify management of the entire SD-WAN fabric. In addition to providing a quality user experience, SD-WAN should provide an agile WAN solution that eases the IT admin experience in managing complex distributed networks. Transparent hybrid WAN technologies like those available with Ipanema SD-WAN can make the transition to software defined, intent-based networking a painless and productive process for IT teams looking to integrate complex network environments. Lastly, the need for a single management console is critical to ensure the ease-of-use and efficiency benefits that are a central promise of SD-WAN.

Learn how you can build a smarter WAN edge without re-engineering the network and see measurable ROI in as little as 2 months. The key is a transparent, hands-free migration.

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