SD-WAN Comes to Forefront at ONUG Show

Silver Peak, Viptela, VeloCloud and Glue Networks were among the vendors demonstrating their platforms at the open networking event.

SD-WAN vendors

The growing SD-WAN movement received a lot of attention at this week's Open Networking User Group show, with four vendors demonstrating proof-of-concepts that not only showcased their platforms, but also how they could work with other companies.

Silver Peak, Viptela, VeloCloud and Glue Networks all participated in a proof-of-concept (PoC) competition at the ONUG event, in New York City, with the goal of showing real-world use cases for software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology. SD-WAN is getting more attention from enterprises and service providers that are looking for faster, more flexible and more affordable alternatives—or complements—to Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), which is how most organizations link their data centers with their remote offices, but which is not best suited in a cloud-based world where speed is at a premium.

Established networking vendors like Cisco Systems—with its iWAN technology—already are offering SD-WAN capabilities in their portfolios. Riverbed Technology, best known for its WAN optimization products, is planning to make a push into the SD-WAN space. In addition, a growing number of smaller companies—not only those already listed, but others like Talari Networks, Aryaka and CloudGenix—are making a push into what is expected to be a fast-growing market.

At the ONUG show, the vendors wanted to show off the speed and flexibility of their platforms, as well as their broad reach and interoperability with products from other companies.

"The Silver Peak ONUG demonstration showcases a real-world SD-WAN deployment scenario that includes the use of popular infrastructure, security and cloud solutions from Nutanix, Infloblox, Zscaler, Pluribus, and Amazon Web Services (AWS)," Tony Thompson, vice president of marketing at Silver Peak, wrote in a post on the company blog. "With these added options for building an SD-WAN, Silver Peak is capable of creating the most agile broadband WAN that also powers industry-leading performance improvements to any form of connectivity."

Jeff Gray, founder and CEO of Glue Networks, told eWEEK's Chris Preimesberger that his company's Gluware 2.0 platform is designed to solve a number of issues being raised by SD-WAN users.

"Every network is different, so how do you automate something that's different every time?" he said. "Typically, with automation you have a known process which is repeatable. So, if it's different, how do you accomplish that? The second piece is multivendor. The user community has been clamoring for this. How do you create a unified management plane where you have these different islands of vendors, while one vendor on its own is hard enough to manage? Finally, what about interoperability? That's what the user community is asking for."

At the ONUG show, each vendor demonstrated what their technology can do. As mentioned by Silver Peak's Thompson, his company showed off how its Unity EdgeConnect platform could interoperate with Nutanix hyperconverged software, Infoflox's DNS, DHCP and IP address management (DDI) products, Zscaler's network traffic management capabilities, Pluribus Networks' network hypervisor and Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform.

Glue Networks' PoC involved showing support for multivendor automation across routers, switches, WAN optimization and controllers, including Citrix Systems' Cloudbridge and Cisco's iWAN. For its part, Viptela demonstrated how its Secure Extensible Network (SEN) platform could run in four use cases: network connectivity, with hybrid WANs, the data center, and virtual data centers and cloud; security, including network and application security, service chaining and firewalls; applications services, such as policy, performance and load balancing; and service providers, with managed SD-WANs, rich content delivery and cloud services.

VeloCloud showed its SD-WAN technology working with Cisco's iWAN to demonstrate optimized connectivity for real-time unified communications (UC), software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and cloud services, according to company officials. The goal was to show how hybrid or Internet-only WAN connectivity in branch offices offers business-grade application performance, they said.

"Quality of experience and performance for mission-critical enterprise and cloud applications over private and public networks is key to the success of today's enterprises," Steve Woo, co-founder and vice president of product at VeloCloud, said in a statement.