Every software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) vendor seems to have its own spin. And 128 Technology is no exception. Even though the company offers a more efficient and economical way for branch offices to connect to each other and to applications, it doesn’t call its offering “SD-WAN.” In fact, its executives don’t even like the term “WAN.”
Patrick MeLampy, COO of 128 Technology, says the concept of a wide area network is becoming less relevant. “What is the definition of WAN?” MeLampy asks. “It’s a wide area private network managed by one party. How does that work when you have 10 different parties?”
By different parties, he’s referring to all the different data centers and networks that enterprise application traffic might traverse. The traffic may start in a private network but then travel to a variety of other private and public networks, before terminating in the private network.
128 Technology has re-visited the entire WAN concept and based its own vision on secure vector routing. The company loads its software onto x86 servers, which can be used in branch offices, corporate data centers, and at public cloud data centers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). The technology acts the same as regular routers.
“We’re trying to create an end-to-end policy control for a service,” says MeLampy. “We’ve added metadata that allows us to communicate from the first router to subsequent routers. It’s almost like every single secure vector route is like a separate VPN.”
Although many data centers run on un-routable addresses, 128 Technology’s routers allow for routing traffic across public and private networks. The metadata communicates how to route packets from one private network to another. Previously, this would have required a tunnel. And while VPNs must be provisioned, 128 Technology eliminates that need.
“You can now send metadata between them [the routers] and accomplish many of the same kinds of things that used to be accomplished with MPLS,” says MeLampy. “The whole process is a bridge to a world in the future where you have routing policies that accomplish the same thing.”
Although 128 Technology doesn’t like the term SD-WAN, its software can connect an enterprise’s branch offices and offload some traffic to data centers. And its secure vector routing doesn’t require overlay networks nor restrict the WAN to the purview of one vendor.
“We like to call it next generation WAN,” MeLampy says
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