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.
SD-WAN Comes to Forefront at ONUG Show
According to analysts at IHS Infonetics, businesses are beginning to turn their attention to SD-WAN technologies. In a report in May, the analysts said a survey of 150 businesses in North America found that 45 percent were planning to increase their spending on SD-WAN networking over the next two years. According to Cliff Grossner, research director for data center, cloud and software-defined networking (SDN) at IHS, SDN and virtualized workloads are top technologies within the data center for businesses.
“Meanwhile, outside the data center, SDN-led transformation is taking hold in the WAN optimization market,” Grossner said in a statement. “There’s a shift from optimizing application traffic flows over a single point-to-point WAN link to automated and dynamic load balancing of application traffic over multiple link types—MPLS, broadband, internet, cellular, etc.”
In a post on the No Jitter blog site this week, Irwin Lazar, vice president and service director at Nemertes Research, wrote that changes in application traffic within the enterprise is forcing businesses to consider alternatives to MPLS.
“While application traffic traditionally traveled from desktop to data center, today it might originate on the desktop or a mobile device and move to the data center, a software-as-a-service provider, or an infrastructure-as-a-service provider like Amazon, Google, or Microsoft,” Lazar wrote. “Simply adding more bandwidth or using rate-shaping devices isn’t sufficient to support rapidly changing applications crossing the WAN from an increasing variety of locations. Here is where software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) comes into play. SD-WAN provides the potential to reduce WAN costs by eliminating or reducing private MPLS, while enabling better support for cloud-based applications.”