SD-WAN Architecture

The right SD-WAN architecture will pay huge benefits, today and in the future

Zabrina Doerck
Jun. 19 2020

Right now, your IT team is walking a tightrope between making the organization “all digital” as fast as possible, and maintaining enterprise performance. Add to that the complexity of deploying fast solutions without disrupting daily operations or boxing in your future digital transformation plans.

In many cases, digital transformation initiatives that had been put off are now the top priority with brand new challenges and requirements.

One key to navigating these challenging times is taking a close look at your underlying network infrastructure to make sure it can handle the evolving demands of the business, and then planning your network upgrade in a way that’s not disruptive to the business.

Not all SD-WAN architectures mean re-engineering the network

SD-WAN provides a framework for enhancing application performance, simplifying network management and optimizing resources to improve business outcomes. In the marketplace, there are different approaches in how SD-WAN is positioned, sold and deployed.

There is no better way for a vendor to lock-in a customer than having them redesign their network to fit the vendor’s SD-WAN architecture. This typically requires changing IP address schemes and modifying the way devices are identified within every branch network resulting in tons of manual intervention, protracted deployments, business disruption, and potential downtime. All the while, your business won’t see the ROI from the project until 6-18+ months later.

Frankly, this is “against our religion” at Infovista. It is not our philosophy to push our SD-WAN architecture irrespective of how your existing WAN is engineered. Our approach is to introduce transparent components that enable you to gain immediate access to SD-WAN functionality while keeping your current network estate intact, thereby empowering the business to upgrade the network as fits their business objectives, and at their own pace. The goal is to help you gain a smarter network, without taking on the unnecessary risk associated with re-engineering the network.

How does it work? Transparent Hybrid WAN architecture

With transparent hybrid WAN capabilities, an Ipanema SD-WAN edge device is placed in front of the existing router, and is essentially “invisible” to the network. Rather than creating two separate networks within the branch, Ipanema’s transparency mimics the existing WAN, intercepts the traffic, and makes application-aware traffic decisions. Ipanema selects the right path, prioritizes traffic and optimizes application delivery over multiple, virtualized network circuits of any type. All without having to make any network changes, including changing branch IP address schemes and device identities.

The Ipanema SD-WAN edge device fully utilizes the SD-WAN overlay with all the business rules that enforce application delivery based on policy. No changes need to be made on the underlying network infrastructure, saving tremendous provisioning and deployment time, resources and cost.

By abstracting the MPLS centric network control plane, Ipanema SD-WAN leverages all functions and processes that forward packets/frames and determine the best path to use. Ipanema SD-WAN’s unique transparency seamlessly manages the network underlay through its cloud-delivered control overlay for zero-touch provisioning, monitoring, analytics and reporting. This enables seamless virtual network connectivity (e.g. MPLS, DIA, broadband, LTE, 4G, 5G, etc.) to data center, SaaS and clouds; and traffic governance using real-time application steering to the best path, based on business intent policies.

Pivot to the “new normal” with a Transparent Hybrid approach

Even when the world goes back to “normal” (whatever that means), business as a whole will be indelibly changed because the current global circumstances have forced enterprises to accelerate digital transformation. For most businesses, the imperative has been to shift as much of the “office” into cloud environments as quickly as possible, which has wrought a heap of challenges related to network performance - challenges that legacy IT solutions are no longer able to resolve.

As a result, many organizations have turned to SD-WAN as the answer – and rightly so, because it provides a way to control application performance while centralizing and simplifying network and resource management, as we’ve pointed out. However, pretty much all SD-WAN vendors require an overhaul of the network infrastructure in order to implement, which is time-consuming, costly, disruptive, and slow to deliver results. Our recommendation is that you choose a solution that doesn’t require re-engineering of the network.

Take advantage of transparent hybrid technologies in order to gain the application performance and network management benefits immediately (rather than the typical 6-18+ months you’d be looking at with most vendors), while upgrading at a pace that suits your business. You don’t need the hassle of network upheaval piled on top of all the other unpredictable circumstances facing your business today and beyond.

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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