Citrix has offered some WAN optimization services for a while, but it’s now offering its new CloudBridge Enterprise Edition for a full SD-WAN overlay service for businesses.
While many SD-WAN vendors sell their technology to service providers, which in turn sell it as a service to their business customers, Citrix is targeting enterprises directly.
“Within the U.S. market, that appears to be a fairly popular way to consume this,” says Chalan Aras, general manager of CloudBridge at Citrix. “In the U.S. many businesses want to manage their networks themselves, and buying through Citrix is natural. Right now we’re focusing on growing the channel.”
He doesn’t preclude Citrix from working through service providers in the future, however. “We do see the service provider approach as one that’s valuable,” he says. “It’s particularly a buying pattern outside of North America.”
The CloudBridge technology can be overlaid on a variety of connections, including MPLS, Ethernet, DSL, or wireless. The software measures each packet and makes decisions about the best path to use each moment, given the network conditions and the particular application.
The software also can dynamically change paths if network or application conditions change, according to Aras. Or it may choose to use multiple paths in certain situations.
CloudBridge uses a device located at each branch office. A central controller looks at the network links and branch devices to manage the SD-WAN and provide security.
The Watershed, a drug rehabilitation organization, is Citrix’s first customer to deploy CloudBridge. It was already leasing MPLS and broadband connections for its active WAN service and backup WAN. But the company experienced delays in failover situations. With CloudBridge, The Watershed now runs all of its WAN links in active mode, and it says blackouts and brownouts go unnoticed.
“I unplugged the fiber connection at one of our facilities, and I was still on the phone call,” says Whit Baker, IT director at The Watershed.
“Bandwidth requirements for us have gone down,” Baker adds. “We have a 20 Mb/s pipe between various locations. We’re going to reduce the bandwidth to about 5 Mb/s and save a tremendous amount of money.”