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SDN tools increase WAN efficiency

Jim Duffy | Dec. 2, 2014
Configuring, maintaining and changing WAN infrastructure can be a nightmare given the distributed nature of the beast and all the remote touch points, but emerging Software Defined Networking (SDN) tools promise to make these operations more efficient.

* CloudGenix is offering a software-defined enterprise WAN (SDEwan) designed for hybrid clouds and a mobile workforce. SDEwan is designed to virtualize enterprise networks and securely enable access to cloud and data center applications, while reducing remote office infrastructure requirements.

CloudGenix officials said the market for their products is $5 billion in remote branch office WAN infrastructure and operations.

The CloudGenix platform is based on a business policy framework with cloud-based control, designed to automate the rollout of cloud-based applications to remote offices while maintaining regulatory and business practice compliance. SDEwan is intended to enable scale of enterprise WANs based on business intent rather than technology constraints, connecting users to applications rather than connecting locations only.

SDEwan virtualizes networks and assigns application-specific business and IT policies. As applications are delivered from public, private and hybrid clouds, SDEwan allows IT to enforce security, performance and compliance policies in a location-independent manner.

The CloudGenix product virtualizes a hybrid infrastructure of MPLS, best effort Internet and 4G/LTE networks. It also centralizes network functions such as firewalling, threat detection and data leakage prevention, while distributing enforcement of those security policies out to remote sites.

This is intended to reduce the amount of equipment and administration necessary at the branch office, ease management and optimize WAN utilization.

* Viptela notes the need for SDN in the WAN is to help reduce complexity associated with stitching together multiple transport networks, patching security vulnerabilities, and segmenting the network for lines of business and business partners. SDNs and virtual network overlays can also improve WAN performance for cloud and Internet applications, enable use of optimal technology for capacity and scale requirements, and help translate business logic into network and security policies.

Viptela's products for making WAN operations more efficient are vEdge Routers, vSmart SDN Controller and the vManage network management system for building Secure Extensible Network (SEN). The routers sit at the perimeter of a remote, branch, campus or data center site and provide secure data connectivity over any transport, the company says.

The SDN controller centrally manages routing, policy, security, segmentation, and authentication of new devices that join the overlay network. The vManage system enables centralized configuration and management of the Viptela SEN environment with a dashboard displaying the real-time health of the network.

Kerravala says Viptela is focusing on the implications of today's WAN architectures, where traffic patterns are becoming less predictable with the advent of mobile and cloud. Traffic is no longer following a well-defined pattern of backhaul to the data center from the branch, he notes.


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