SD-WANs and SASE are red hot today and they should be, as they are the most transformative technologies for the WAN since, well, maybe ever.
Most organizations I talk to are either in the process of deploying SD-WAN and/or SASE or planning to. The reason for this “big shift” is that SD-WAN and SASE are optimized to enable businesses to connect to the cloud where the traditional “hub and spoke” model was better suited for client server computing. Businesses have steadily been shifting apps and computing resources to the cloud, accelerating their plans because the pandemic.
Despite the promise of SD-WAN and SASE, they don’t solve all network problems. SD-WANs require multiple broadband connections and then the technology selects the best path based on application need or performance.
This works well for larger branch offices but there are several locations that do not have access to multiple broadband connections. Here, the network manager needs to make a tough choice – pay the big bucks for a private network service, such as Ethernet or use low-cost broadband and live with performance problems.
This week, managed service provider, Masergy unveiled a solution called Performance Edge that brings Ethernet-like performance to a single broadband connection. To understand better how this works, I interviewed Masergy CEO, Chris MacFarland, in this recent ZKast, done in partnership with eWEEK as part of its eSPEAKS series. Highlights of the interview are below:
- Hybrid work, although overhyped, is rapidly becoming the norm. There are many ways to implement hybrid, but most companies will implement some kind of hybrid strategy.
- Companies struggle with providing workers with consistent network and security services whether they are in the office or at home.
- There is an increasing reliance on broadband to enable hybrid work. Masergy provided me these statistics from Altman Solon:
- 64% of IT decision makers anticipate a growing reliance on public access due to remote work.
- 50% of IT leaders using only public access methodologies say their application performance is insufficient.
- 48% of those say the cost savings of public access don’t justify the lower quality of service.
- It is cost prohibitive to bring Ethernet to people’s houses.
- Broadband remains the weakest link in the network for home workers and small and branch offices.
- Masergy Performance Edge uses a combination of network techniques, such as forward error correction (FEC) to improve the performance of broadband.
- All Masergy customers will have access to Performance Edge for a small, incremental fee.
- The company’s AIOps capabilities constantly scan the network and turn on Performance Edge automatically when needed so there is no overhead for the customer. The AIOps platform will trigger Performance Edge when application performance degrades.
- Performance Edge can be put in recommendation mode to inform network operations for customers that want the control.
- The feature delivers near Ethernet performance over regular broadband connections.
- This isn’t meant to replace Ethernet but complement a company’s network strategy.
- Performance Edge is unique to Masergy. The company can deliver the service via a combination of its software defined network and AIOps capabilities.
- In addition to home workers, other use cases include retail locations and mid-market companies with small offices.
- Although FEC has been around for a long time and is used widely in cellular networks. In wired networks, it’s difficult to deploy as it requires infrastructure on both ends and can remove some or all of the visibility from monitoring tools. Masergy built the service to be an extension of its AIOps and SASE strategy.
- Key Benefits include improved performance, lower costs – Masergy estimates 70% savings over private networks and fast implementation.
- The Performance Edge solution combined with AIOps, SD-WAN and SASE provides a path to a fully autonomous intent-based network. MacFarland estimates the company can deliver this in about two years, but network engineers need to build up trust in the automation capabilities.