Do You Know What’s Happening with Your SD-WAN?


Moving to an SD-WAN is a transformative move for IT that can improve agility and reliability while decreasing costs. But with any big transformation like this, you still need maximum visibility into your SD-WAN networks to ensure things are unfolding as they should. After all, it would be exciting to ride in a self-driving car — but you'd still want windows to check that you're moving in the right direction. Visibility provides guidance that helps reduce the risk associated with this transformation.

The good news: Riverbed, maker of the innovative SteelConnect™ SD-WAN, is already recognized as an industry leader for its broad application and network performance management portfolio, Riverbed SteelCentral™. And Riverbed SteelCentral Insights for SteelConnect delivers all the power of Riverbed's performance management tools seamlessly with SteelConnect SD-WAN, to unify network connectivity and orchestration of application delivery across hybrid WANs, wired and wireless LANs and cloud networks.

How it works

SteelCentral Insights for SteelConnect securely collects data from SteelConnect Manager ¾ the centralized design and management SD-WAN portal with intuitive workflows, using SteelFlow™ (a Riverbed-specific form of NetFlow), DPI, and REST APIs.

You can access this data through contextual launch points in SteelConnect Manager to gain visibility into usage and availability data for your overall network, specific sites, servers, applications, and users. From there, you can examine a number of detailed reports:

  • Organization summary: Provides detailed usage information about links, applications, sites, and users
  • Site summary: Shows overlay and underlay views, QoS class breakdown of traffic, top users, and top site interactions
  • Application summary: Helps you understand how, where, and who is using the app
  • User summary: Offers a breakdown of user activity, including which applications they're using and where is the user most active

With these reports, you can get answers to a slew of important questions:

  • What’s happening on my network? What was the behavior over the past hour, day, or week?
  • Are there issues with any uplinks? Which uplinks are handling the most traffic?
  • Which applications are used most often?
  • Who is using the network? What applications are they using?
  • What’s happening at a specific site? How is the traffic flowing out of the site? Is it in line with the policies that have been established? What is the QoS priority of the traffic?
  • What is the activity for a particular uplink? Are there any performance problems? If so, what's affected?

The case of the overloaded uplink

Let's see how this all would work in practice. Imagine users at your New York location are having problems using FTP to upload and download files. Using SteelConnect Manager, you can seamlessly click and drill down into the New York site and get a detailed breakdown of all of the activity that’s happening there.

For instance, you'll see how much traffic is going over the Internet and how much is going over the MPLS uplinks, which users are actually responsible for the traffic, and what kind of QoS classifications that traffic has.

In our example, you could zero in on the link used by FTP traffic. As you drill down, you can see that there’s a huge BitTorrent spike on this particular uplink, and those packets have been given the same QoS classification as our FTP traffic.

Figure 1. Launch from a Site in SCM to view its Insight

You've now narrowed down the problem in a few clicks — and, in fact, you can see which user is the culprit as well. Now you can take action within SteelConnect Manager, by either blocking BitTorrent or by creating a policy that reduces its priority.

How visibility improves your life

With all the information SteelCentral Insights for SteelConnect puts at your fingertips, you can easily validate policies, troubleshoot problems, and plan for further transformative changes, thus future-proofing your network.

Total visibility into your SD-WAN gives you the best of both worlds: the ease-of-use of a software-defined network, and the granular, nuts-and-bolts data you expect from top-of-the-line performance management tools.

With this offering, Riverbed combines an SD-WAN with our expertise in visibility — and the cross-platform integration makes us stronger in the industry than any other solution.

Activate your visibility