Silver Peak Enables Hybrid WAN With EdgeConnect

The company's latest product for its Unity portfolio is part of a growing push in the industry for software-defined WANs.


Silver Peak this week unveiled the latest solution in its software-defined WAN portfolio, a set of offerings designed to make it easier for enterprises to adopt broadband Internet within their networks.

The company rolled out its Unity EdgeConnect product, the latest offering from its line of SD-WAN solutions that creates a virtual network overlay that enables users to move from traditional multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) to broadband at whatever pace they want, according to company officials. That can be on a site-by-site basis or through a hybrid approach that uses both MPLS and broadband Internet connectivity options, such as cable, DSL and LTE, Silver Peak officials said.

Enterprises are looking for a connectivity alternative to MPLS, which is costly and brings with it limited capacity. The Unity EdgeConnect product will help enterprises reduce the cost and complexity associated with SD-WAN, according to Silver Peak founder and CEO David Hughes.

"Despite the mounting frustration with MPLS, many customers still do not believe the Internet can provide the security and performance needed for today's business-critical traffic," Hughes wrote in a post on the company blog. "And while current conversations around leveraging the Internet for the enterprise WAN have focused primarily on the ability to use multiple network connections, and in some cases, zero-touch provisioning, we do not believe that is enough."

Hughes in interviews with news publications has said that MPLS is still by far the dominant technology used to build WANs (wide-area networks), but that adoption of SD-WAN will increase significantly over the next five years, starting with hybrid deployments and then shifting over to networks primarily built with broadband.

Other vendors also are making the same bet, and June has been a busy month for some of them. For example, Glue Networks earlier this month unveiled the latest version—2.0—of the Gluware SD-WAN orchestration technology, while Viptela announced a partnership with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (Singtel) to bring SD-WAN service to Singtel customers in the United States, Europe, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

For its part, Talari Networks put its SD-WAN products on display at the Gartner IT Operations Strategies and Solutions Summit this week in Orlando, Fla.

Silver Peak's Hughes wrote in his blog that there is plenty of hype around SD-WAN, but noted that in order to build an enterprise-grade broadband WAN, organizations must have a secure overlay network that can use multiple types of connectivity. They also must be able to control both native and Internet applications and offer reliable performance.

"If done correctly, over time customers can begin to reduce the amount of infrastructure needed to support branch locations," he wrote.

Unity EdgeConnect hits those points, according to Hughes. It is available in either physical or virtual form factors and can be deployed in seconds, creating a virtual network overlay. Enterprises can use the technology to migrate to a broadband WAN as quickly or slowly as they want, and in a hybrid environment, they have multiple connectivity options.

"The combination of these features paves the path to 'thin' branch offices with reduced need for multiple networking devices," he wrote.

The capabilities in Unity EdgeConnect include Dynamic Path Control that allows for policy-based real-time steering of traffic over any broadband or MPLS link and automatic failover during an outage, as well as WAN hardening for data security through 256-bit AES encrypted tunnels. Path conditioning offers the levels of performance found in private lines in the public Internet, while cloud intelligence ensures that applications are put on the fastest network path.