On October 26, 2016 at 5:30p, I’m speaking to a couple of Chicago-based MeetUp groups banding together to hear me discuss implementing SD-WAN. The talk will be held at Cisco Systems Building – SkylineATS, 9501 Technology Blvd. 3rd Floor, Rosemont, IL. Sign up via http://bit.ly/2d5ffDC or http://bit.ly/2crmtng.
I’m leading an SD-WAN related webinar as a guest of Silver Peak on November 19, 2015 at 12pm PT / 3pm ET. If you’d like to attend, register via http://bit.ly/1MqVD6S.
In the world of idealistic fantasy, an software defined network of whatever kind would centralize all functions. Pesky reality gets in the way of idealism, and so it is that we find full centralization to be an impractical idea.
Scale is a relative term. While every technology needs to scale to some point to be useful to IT practitioners, not every technology needs to scale infinitely. Every technology has a context in which it is viable — where it proves to be the best choice. But in another context, the opposite technology might rise to the surface as more appropriate. Don’t be religious about such a decision. Know your business need well, research the technology thoroughly, plan for the future, and choose wisely. Don’t pick a tool that solves someone else’s problem.
Consumers evaluating SD-WAN shouldn’t think of it as a WAN optimization replacement, at least not exactly. These are different technologies, although it might be fair to think of SD-WAN as the successor to WAN optimization. SD-WAN and WAN optimization are compatible technologies, but not interdependent technologies.
In networking, we rely on routing protocols to compute best path. That is to ask, from the perspective of a given router in a routing domain, what is the best way to reach a destination? Best path is typically computed using simplistic metrics like hop count, cost, bandwidth, and delay. Traditional “best path” thinking is effective, insofar as it goes. It scales to a large number of devices and destinations. It is resilient. It is mature. However, it has its limitations. Software defined WAN brings a much more sophisticated metric to the computation of best path.
The connection between your office and the central office is what we call the last mile. The last mile, at least in the US, has one big problem: it’s often owned by a single organization.
My interpretation of the SD-WAN value prop can be boiled down to cost savings, simplified operations, and improved application performance over inconsistently performing WAN links. Here’s the conundrum. An engineer might instinctively recoil at this sort of value proposition.