The explosion of cloud-based applications and demand for Internet connectivity has placed new demands on wide area networks (WANs), increasing the role of the network in delivering IT applications, services, and data. Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology offers an opportunity to improve the way WANs are delivered, managed, and optimized to handle today’s demanding environment of cloud applications.
Enterprises and service providers alike are rethinking the way a WAN is installed, implemented, and delivered. Maturing SD-WAN technologies will provide more flexible and intuitive ways to optimize and manage WAN services. SD-WAN technology can help the customer reduce the complexity of managing the network while increasing the flexibility and functionality of this core asset. For example, here are some of the areas that SD-WAN can help improve networking access and services, including:
- Secure business-class WAN services that can be delivered using a cloud provisioning model.
- The use of virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE) can reduce hardware management and capital costs
- Additional network services such as WAN optimization, application delivery controller (ADC), and route optimization can be delivered in the cloud without additional equipment or management expense.
This post explains some of the complexities and challenges of today’s WAN, and how SD-WAN can help solve some of these problems, including the approach used by Nuage Networks Virtualized Network Services (VNS) to provide flexible and dynamic WAN connectivity.
More Complexity = Less Responsiveness
Today’s WANs have more devices, management options, and optimization engines than ever, and each element adds another layer of complexity for network managers. Remote locations may be serviced by multiple devices, routers may be augmented by firewalls, and a WAN accelerator works to squeeze every last drop of bandwidth out of a scarce resource. In the WAN, increased complexity decreases the network’s responsiveness.
At the same time, more and more users and services are moving off the private WAN and into the cloud, adding a whole other host of bandwidth and security issues. Most of the challenges facing WANs can be categorized under one of three larger issues:
- Changes must be rigorously managed, which slows responsiveness.
- It takes a long time to commission new sites.
- The security framework around the WAN is cumbersome.
Enterprises that want to extend the dynamism of the cloud to remote employees are looking at SD-WAN as the foundation for the future evolution of wide-area networking.
VNS-Powered SD-WAN Brings Cloud Speed Connectivity to Branch Offices
Today, there is little cohesion within networking environments: The data center has its own networking environment, where it drives the placement and responsiveness of business applications, while the WAN provides connectivity between the data center and remote locations.
The key to seamless interworking is using a single network policy framework that distributes business policies and network intelligence across both the data center and the WAN.
Nuage Networks VNS provides connectivity that’s flexible and dynamic across both domains. Based on an overlay model that uses any IP network to provide connectivity between sites, Nuage Networks VNS uses software-defined networking (SDN) to provide maximum flexibility and the support of multiple access/last-mile technologies including copper, fiber, or mobile broadband.
In the data center, SDN controls the network that underpins cloud applications and manages the connectivity across the wide area towards the applications’ end users (employees and/or customers). VNS extends the concept of centralizing intelligence onto an overarching policy and control framework – only now it applies it to the WAN. The VNS solution has three main components:
- Virtualized Service Directory (VSD): A centralized policy engine that administers network templates and policies. VSD provides visibility and control for the network via an intuitive GUI. All visibility and control aspects of the WAN are managed via this WAN service management layer
- Virtualized Service Controllers (VSCs): SDN-based controllers that manage the control plane of the WAN. VSCs program the customer premises equipment to mange network connections between the endpoints of the network.
- Network Service Gateways (NSGs): Open compute (x-86-based) NSGs are deployed at remote branches, data center connection points, and at the public cloud interconnect to provide enterprise-wide control of the network.
Together, these VNS components simplify the overall network, reduce the number and complexity of devices installed at the branch, and give the freedom to choose who provides the bandwidth to branches on a location-by-location basis. Check out the Nuage Networks site to learn more.