SD-WAN Enables a New Cloud-first Branch Strategy

By Nav Chander

As enterprises and government agencies continue to migrate applications to the cloud and embrace IaaS, they are increasingly turning to leading hyper-scale cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) or Google Cloud to directly connect or host their applications and infrastructure.

But how do they connect their remote or branch office sites and users to these cloud services without compromising performance, security and the end user experience?

AWS prefers enterprises to use its Direct Connect service (a dedicated private connection to directly connect an enterprise’s data center to one of AWS’s data centers). This works in theory provided you have a solid connection to the internet. It also requires your service provider to have a Direct Connect service as well. Depending on where the offices are located, that option could be a far-off data center, often creating latency and performance issues with cloud applications accessed from remote branch offices that may not have a dedicated private network connection or where data has to be backhauled to the data center.

So, how can an SD-WAN play a role in enabling all enterprise branch offices to connect to any of these cloud providers and do so as part of a high-performance managed service? In fact, the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution is one of most widely deployed enterprise SD-WAN solutions today that already optimizes the performance of SaaS applications and IaaS instances. EdgeConnect optimizes SaaS and IaaS performance through an application-aware direct connection to the internet via a broadband network. This enables the service providers to offer enterprises any combination of on-net and off-net cloud connections to the cloud providers at their data centers. Application awareness enables the EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution to identify web-bound traffic at the application level and enforce a range of security policies on an app-by-app basis. For example, trusted SaaS apps can be steered directly over the internet while recreational or unknown apps can be directed to more advanced security services in the cloud, regional hubs or headquarters data centers.

At this week’s MPLS & SDN & NFV World Congress in Paris, Silver Peak highlighted its advanced solution for the cloud-enabled branch during a session, Tiered SD-WAN Use Cases for the Cloud-Enabled Branch.

Today, a number of DIY enterprises have opted to use virtual EdgeConnect SD-WAN software appliances, EC-V as a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) instance in either AWS marketplace or Azure marketplace. Enterprises should evaluate whether their managed SD-WAN service provider offers the flexibility for both on-net direct connect and off-net cloud connect services.  A Silver Peak-powered managed SD-WAN solution supports this deployment.

“Enterprise customers are using multiple cloud services and have multiple branches, and they need to make sure the performance for those services is acceptable,” says Mike Sapien, vice president and chief analyst US, Enterprise Services, Ovum, which also sees cloud enablement as a top-three use case. “They also need reliable connections to the main cloud resources, be it Amazon Web ServicesMicrosoft Azure, etc. That means implementing QoS, but also the ability to make changes in a network on the fly to improve performance or address increased usage and using automatic traffic routing to create redundancy and diversity. SD-WAN fits that bill.”

For innovative service providers like our latest partner, KDDI Europe, Silver Peak enables service providers to offer high-performance, cloud-ready managed SD-WAN services powered by the EdgeConnect  SD-WAN solution that incorporates advanced capabilities that include:

These SD-WAN capabilities enable enterprises to securely and confidently migrate their applications and infrastructure to the cloud without compromising performance for accessing applications from the individual branch offices.

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