Is SD-WAN Your Key To Business Transformation?



What is SD-WAN?

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a solution to mitigate the complexity, rigidity and fragile nature of today’s hybrid WAN topologies. It aims to simplify IT management by replacing Command-Line Interface (CLI) based configuration methodologies with a centralized SD-WAN controller for network path control. Data transport security and zero-touch hardware installation come standard.

The question is, are these improvements sufficient to enable business transformation?

The performance gap

As your customers continue to thrive in the digital deluge where information comes with a swipe, they have more choices for products and their preferences are fickle. Enterprises worldwide are waking up to the need for business agility—the ability to quickly evolve with changing customer preferences. Initiatives such as digital transformation and DevOps methodologies for application development are great but they ultimately depend on agility in IT infrastructure and processes. The concern here is that network infrastructure and operations teams have not witnessed a disruption in technology for almost two decades, leaving them handicapped in efforts to support business agility imperatives.

Its time for change and the technology you need is out there. Choose wisely.

Is SD-WAN the solution you need?

You need a solution that fundamentally redefines the way networking is done to better align with new, cloud-centric business practices. It needs to be more than an incremental approach of replacing manual CLI with automated CLI, and rather a holistic software-defined solution that supports business-aligned orchestration and management of the network. In effect, your team would manage the network based on business priorities versus network constraints.

While the above solution would dramatically ease WAN management pains, it would be insufficient for end-to-end IT agility if restricted within WAN end-points. With hot spots for storage and compute now in the cloud, users and customers at remote branch locations, the modern solution should seamlessly extend software-defined control from Wi-Fi Access Points in the LAN to the IaaS instances in the cloud.

As your enterprise expands into new markets, opening up branch offices would fall into your plate. How awesome would it be to design and configure a branch office 500 miles away while you watch over your son build his science project at home? That’s the power of the cloud-based management experience. It allows you to design first (in a software model) and when you’re ready, deploy. Deployment involves one step—plugging in the Ethernet cable into the appliance at the branch office—and anybody already at the branch office can do it.

Benefits—let’s think big

Sure, SD-WAN promises an increase in IT agility, network efficiency and reliability, with reduced costs. However, by extending the principles of SD-WAN as mentioned above, you would stir up an organizational change that would drive holistic business agility, not just IT agility. Surpassing the benefits from pure play SD-WAN solutions and outpacing the business velocity expected from router-based SD-WAN solutions, Riverbed can assist in developing a generative culture within your organization where network, application and product teams are synchronized with changing market requirements. The benefits from this organizational change would far outweigh and outlast any other incremental improvements.

Riverbed SteelConnect at ONUG Spring 2016

The Open Networking User Group (ONUG) Spring 2016 conference at Mountain View, California, is a great place to test drive SD-WAN solutions in the market today. Riverbed will give attendees the opportunity to explore, in real-time, unique workflows designed to enable agile, business-intent based management of the network—WAN, LAN and cloud.

We hope to see you at the ONUG conference. Stop by and see us in the Technology Showcase to see SteelConnect, our SD-WAN solution, in action. If you can’t make it, be sure to check out the self-guided demo environment for SteelConnect. Or, you could send us a quick note and we would be happy to chat.



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