The transition by enterprises to cloud-based services is changing, at a fundamental level, the way branch wide area networks (WAN) are being architected. As end-users, IoT and BYOD devices are accessing internet-based applications, companies are seeking better ways to improve end-user experience and IT operations.
For engineers responsible for the WAN, the solution until recently has been to supplement existing connections with high-speed broadband or DSL. However, the lack of a unified management solution means that new moves, additions, and changes are required for each new connection.
A more sustainable approach to today’s digital transformation, as well as evolving performance and quality of service traffic demands, is Aruba’s SD-WAN solution which offers enhanced traffic visibility, automated route orchestration, and consistent security policies.
What Exactly Is SD-WAN?
Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology is primarily a cloud-based management solution to increase an organization’s ability to simply and easily manage routing traffic over MPLS, broadband, and cellular connections, while also reducing costs. A unified view into the performance and health of each WAN uplink, and advanced features like Dynamic Path Steering and Policy-based Routing to optimize and direct traffic, are also included.
3 Challenges SD-WAN can help solve
Here are three of the most common challenges that enterprises today face, and how Aruba’s SD-WAN can help.
1. Corporate Resources Are Hosted Outside The Network Perimeter
Cloud services, such as unified communications (UCC) and internet-based SaaS applications, are delivering many benefits that are recognized by IT and end users. The IT organization is no longer responsible for ongoing software updates, upgrades, and maintenance tasks. Users gain the ability to choose between web and mobile apps that are easy to use from anywhere.
Unfortunately, this also leads to increased security and risk implications, potentially exposing sensitive data to malicious users.
Solution: Design The Network To Extend To The Public Cloud
By deploying Aruba’s SD-WAN gateways at each branch, IT can gain new levels of insight into multiple points of egress – from inside the branch, from public cloud infrastructure, and from the internet.
The use of an Aruba Virtual Headend Gateway allows IT to securely connect branch networks directly to applications hosted in public cloud infrastructure. Unlike traditional SD-WAN vendors, Aruba provides full orchestration including deployment, configuration, routing, WAN health checks, and troubleshooting. This means IT can reduce the amount of configuration necessary to perform in their VPC or VNET environments.
Finally, Aruba SD-WAN includes web content filtering/classification that allows IT to create policies based on a site’s reputation and risk score.
2. Perceived Reliability Of Internet Connections
Private WAN connections like MPLS provide enterprises with unparalleled performance through guaranteed SLAs and adherence to corporate security policies. However, the market for MPLS is declining because organizations are capitalizing on the benefits of widely available and more affordable public broadband connections.
But even as enterprises are supplementing their MPLS connections with broadband or DSL, they still consider the public internet too risky from a performance standpoint – despite potential savings of up to 100 times the cost of MPLS.
Solution: WAN Health-Based Monitoring And Steering
By adding the ability to measure and see WAN health across every uplink in a branch, IT can now better control traffic behavior and improve the reliability of broadband connections. The ability to leverage context such as user role, Layer 7 application visibility, and dynamic path steering can be used for granular routing policies that improve network performance and utilization.
Factors such as real-time health insight also minimize disruption to the network. For example, if the minimum threshold for latency, jitter, or packet loss is reached, traffic can be re-routed over a secondary uplink, ensuring minimal impact to end-users.
3. The Traditional Way To Configure Networks Doesn’t Scale
Traditional WAN infrastructure is made up of multiple pieces of on-premises hardware and a varying number of WAN connections that are all managed separately. What this means is that every new or ongoing move, add, or configuration change will require a truck roll in every branch network. As more mobile and IoT devices, cloud applications, and social media are being used, the ability for IT to maintain visibility, make changes and quickly resolve issues is untenable.
Solution: Centralize Visibility And Control
By introducing a single pane of glass to manage a WAN environment, as well as Wi-Fi and wired infrastructure, organizations can reduce their reliance on setting up changes through their MPLS service provider. Aruba’s SD-WAN solution is managed via Aruba Central, a unified network operations and assurance platform that consolidates visibility, setting up routing policies and directly applying configuration changes to the WAN gateways.
Aruba’s SD-WAN gateways include unique branch and security capabilities that can be used with third-part firewall services – meaning that organizations can reduce their WAN footprint to as few as a single WAN edge device. This also means that IT now has the foundation in place to migrate away from legacy routers and WAN optimizers entirely to consolidate what is being managed in each branch.
Talk To WEI About Shaping Your Digital Transformation With Aruba
Aruba’s SD-WAN solution provides distributed enterprises with the full set of tools and features needed to prepare branch networks for the transition towards the greater use of cloud services. This includes key capabilities that optimize WAN routing, connectivity to applications hosted in the data center, public cloud, and directly to the Internet, as well as security features and integrations that protect corporate data.
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