UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS

  • 11/05/2015
    12:00 PM
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Shining a Spotlight on SD-WAN Interoperability

This hot WAN technology holds great promise, but isn't without its issues.

As Nemertes Research VP Irwin Lazar wrote on No Jitter earlier this week, software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology is "bringing sexy back" to the wide area network. This is not the first time I've heard this sentiment, although certainly no one but Irwin had channeled Justin Timberlake in expressing the technology's allure.

But appealing it is, one of the hottest things out there in enterprise networking. Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), the legacy enterprise WAN technology of choice, isn't just old, it's dated. MPLS is not up to the task of handling the volume of traffic hitting the WAN as companies increase their reliance on cloud-based applications, including for communications and mobile workforces.

As Irwin mentioned, SD-WAN brings about all sorts of new coolness, not the least of which is lower WAN costs. With SD-WAN devices at the branch, outbound traffic can flow across the best available network services -- including low-cost Internet connections -- on an application-by-application basis. "[So] ... an enterprise could potentially reduce WAN spend (by eliminating or reducing MPLS service use) while also delivering adequate performance for cloud applications like email/calendar, voice, video, and/or file sharing," Irwin wrote.

A long and growing list
As the tendency goes with all things trendy, everybody wants in on the SD-WAN action. Just for kicks, after reading Irwin's post I jotted down the names of companies I know that are pitching their SD-WAN stories. I came up with a dozen without much effort.

As I've written previously, for example, Cisco has its SD-WAN "Bill of Rights," Glue Networks itsSD-WAN orchestration platform, InfoVista (formerly Ipanema Technologies) its hybrid WAN, and Silver Peak its WAN overlay network. I've also spoken to companies such as Cato NetworksCitrixEarthlink, and Viptela about SD-WAN, though haven't yet had time to share their angles on No Jitter. And let's not forget the companies Irwin mentioned in his post: In addition to Cisco, we have CloudGenixMushroom NetworksTalari, and VeloCloud.

A sticking point
Of late, SD-WAN interoperability in particular has been in the spotlight, put there by the SD-WAN working group, a division of Open Networking User Group (ONUG) -- and with good reason. 

Read the rest of the article on No Jitter.

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