Expand Revenue Opportunities Through SD-WAN Services

Software-Defined Networking

… guidance available to help organizations wade through the marketing hype. While third-party testing labs like NSS Labs have begun to establish some baseline parameters around SD-WAN solutions, there are still a number of issues that organizations face in selecting, deploying and managing a solution that meets their current and evolving needs.

Places to Provide Critical Services

As a channel services provider, here are a few things you can focus on to assist your customers through this transition away from MPLS and toward the adoption of a next-gen SD-branch solution, from selecting proper solutions to the deployment and optimization of a consistent branch solution rollout:

  • Automated efficiency for the WAN edge. Advanced routing functionality combined with deep application awareness is fundamental to providing a fast and secure SD-WAN experience. It requires being able to determine application criticality, meeting and maintaining performance requirements, and managing the critical routing challenges being introduced by flexible and dynamic networks.

Any SD-WAN solution under consideration needs to include things like Automated Multi-Path Intelligence to select the most efficient route for SaaS, VoIP and other business-critical traffic to and from the branch office, and WAN Path Remediation, which provides Forward Error Correction (FEC) to overcome adverse WAN conditions, such as poor or noisy links, to enhance data reliability and deliver a better user experience, especially for Unified Communications applications.

  • Application performance. To ensure optimal application performance, SD-WAN solutions must be able to identify a broad range of applications and apply routing policies at a very granular level. Bandwidth-hungry applications can be supported using Tunnel Bandwidth Aggregation that combines two overlay tunnels and then applies per-packet load balancing and delivery to maximize network capacity and performance.

Likewise, high-speed Application Awareness should be able to intelligently identify applications on the very first packet of data traffic, natively identify and differentiate between thousands of applications, and prioritize application routing across available network bandwidth based on specific application and user requirements, even if that application traffic has been encrypted. It should also include a process for identifying and classifying new applications.

  • Secure remote connectivity. While its use of public networks is one of the reasons for SD-WAN’s popularity (as there is no comparison between the cost-performance benefits and agility of internet-based connections over an MPLS connection), it does raise some eyebrows when it comes to security. SD-WAN vendors address the need for secure connectivity with virtual private networks (VPNs).

But this requires more than your usual VPN connection solution. Branch offices operating at the expanding WAN edge need to be deeply interconnected to leverage today’s digital networks. Meshed overlay VPNs, built on-demand, allow branch devices, applications and resources to be interconnected and move quickly across, between and through a variety of network environments. VPN overlays also typically include multiple layers of network tunnels per branch. When these overlays are multiplied across an organization with a large number of branches or remote locations, network performance can seriously degrade. Closely examining and determining real VPN connectivity performance, therefore, is a …

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