As cloud adoption accelerates, shifting traffic patterns require the intelligent, application-aware steering of SaaS traffic directly to the internet, changing the role of routing at the WAN edge. By combining SD-WAN, routing, WAN optimization and branch firewall capabilities in a single, fully registered “thin branch” solution, enterprises and service providers can greatly simplify WAN edge infrastructure and streamline the management of underlying WAN services.
The traditional model of backhauling SaaS and web-bound traffic from branch offices to the data center for robust security inspection is not optimal as it wastes bandwidth and adds latency, ultimately impairing application performance. There is a real need for a better way to send trusted SaaS and cloud traffic directly over the internet from branch locations, while granularly steering other traffic to advanced security services to maintain compliance with enterprise security mandates. Rather than relying on traditional routing protocols such as BGP or OSPF, a complete SD-WAN provides an automated, application-driven approach to intelligently steer traffic across the WAN based on business requirements. However, “routing” will continue to play a role in an SD-WAN architecture, particularly as enterprises migrate to a new WAN edge. While an SD-WAN solution can replace branch routers, it’s also important that it supports legacy routing protocols to enable interoperability with environments that are not part of the SD-WAN infrastructure.
SD-WAN can consolidate essential WAN edge functions – SD-WAN, routing, WAN optimization, and security functions to create a “thin branch” solution, eliminating the requirement – and associated complexity – for a traditional router at the branch. Still requiring manual programming, branch routers are too complex and cumbersome to support an agile enterprise. An advanced SD-WAN removes the cost and operational complexity required to support the cloud-first model.
However, deploying a thin branch architecture requires more than simply consolidating multiple network functions into a single physical or virtual device. This presentation will also discuss the benefits of centralized orchestration, a key element of a complete SD-WAN solution that yields tremendous operational efficiencies. From a single-pane-of glass, application priorities and QoS and security policies are configured and assigned to automate traffic handling across the WAN. A single mouse click distributes SD-WAN configuration parameters to all sites, improving operational efficiency and minimizing the potential for human errors that can negatively impact application availability. If needed, integrated WAN optimization can be added to specific applications simply by checking a box. Zero-touch provisioning allows network managers to easily add new sites to the SD-WAN without specialized IT resources require at branch office locations.