The ‘business of business’ is not always easy on the ‘business of telecommunications’. Mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, closures, new applications and new business needs – which are all staples of the corporate world – can make designing and managing an enterprise wide area network (WAN) into a never-ending, complicated task.

So says Duane Henigin, Senior Systems Engineer at SD-WAN solution provider Silver Peak. Writing in a blog entry, Henigin notes that: “Most likely your Wide Area Network (WAN) has grown in complexity over time or you have inherited a network with its own challenges… Add in the constant balance between dependability and performance with cost and you have just scratched the surface of architecting and managing an enterprise WAN.”

Henigin says that software defined WAN (SD-WAN) offers an entirely new way to look at network architecture, which focuses on the desired business outcome. He explains that SD-WAN “…can provide an enormous opportunity to build a modern network with a solid foundation that will grow with the changing needs of your business.

For a product to be both simple to deploy yet address complex requirements, it must come from a vendor with both maturity and focus. The solution needs to hit the ground running, be simple to configure and deploy, but advanced enough to handle the complexity and scale of an enterprise network.”

Marcel Fouché, Networking and Storage General Manager at Networks Unlimited Africa, the distributor for Silver Peak in Sub-Saharan Africa, explains, “SD-WANs are superbly effective at enabling enterprises that are geographically widely dispersed.

The use of an SD-WAN allows a business to lower costs, reduce complexity and make branch communications more secure, while also improving network security and compliance.

“An SD-WAN is a virtual WAN architecture that allows enterprises to use any combination of transport services – including MPLS, LTE and broadband internet services – to securely connect users to applications. This is as clarified by Silver Peak itself[1], which notes that: ‘An SD-WAN uses a centralised control function to securely and intelligently direct traffic across the WAN. This increases application performance, resulting in enhanced user experience, increased business productivity and reduced costs for IT’.”

According to Henigin, Silver Peak is a superior SD-WAN provider in part because it embraced the new solution significantly before other companies.

“In 2015, the company adapted its WAN Optimisation solution to an SD-WAN solution by aligning its singular focus on WAN innovation toward designing a completely new solution. With a solid foundation based on application acceleration and steering traffic over any combination of WAN transport reliably using VPNs, it marked a significant shift in product strategy that proved to be well ahead of the broader market. You can honestly say Silver Peak was developing an SD-WAN before SD-WAN entered the scene.”

He says the advantages offered by Silver Peak SD-WAN solutions include the following:

  • The solution can be customised for production in a day or two, while in addition, customers can deploy a hundred sites or more in just a few days.
  • The platform’s advanced capabilities can protect VoIP traffic as well as an organisation’s other application traffic without using up all the available bandwidth.
  • It can be deployed out-of-the-box within days, completely changing the end user experience.
  • Silver Peak can also address complex configurations like dynamic routing, load balancing and failover criteria, security segmentation, application prioritisation, application performance and high availability.
  • The solution allows freedom of choice: the customer decides how simple or complex the deployment is, and is able to choose which best-of-breed wireless, switching, security or solutions are used. The Silver Peak EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform will fit into an existing network and deliver tremendous improvements.

Concludes Fouché, “International trends towards the selection of a cloud-first strategy, as well as ongoing innovations in the internet of things (IoT), are reinforcing the need for secure, high-speed WAN connections.  Adopting SD-WAN is an excellent way for those companies looking to speed up their enterprise connectivity and accommodate quickly-changing application environments.”