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Basic SD-WAN vs Business-driven SD-WAN



While most SD-WAN offerings improve network agility and reduce WAN costs, Silver Peak enables enterprises to build a modern WAN that drives maximum value from cloud and digital transformation initiatives with a self-driving network that learns and adapts to the needs of the business. The difference? Better performance and even more WAN value. 

Need a refresher on what SD-WAN is? We got your back



Not all SD-WANs are created equal - Many SD-WAN solutions are basic SD-WAN solutions or “just good enough” solutions. These solutions lack the intelligence, reliability, performance and scale needed to ensure a superior network experience. And remember, without a fast, secure and high performing network, enterprise digital transformation initiatives can stall because they rely on apps that rely on services that in turn rely on the network. SD-WAN is a hot topic and is driving strategic decisions within the enterprise. So, what is a Business-driven SD-WAN and why is Basic SD-WAN not good enough?


1. Life orchestration and automation

Most basic SD-WAN offerings provide some level of zero-touch provisioning. However, basic SD-WAN solutions do not always provide full end-to-end orchestration of all WAN edge functions such as routing, security services including service chaining to advanced third-party security services and WAN optimization. When enterprises deploy new applications or when a QoS or security policy change is required, a business-driven SD-WAN supports centralized configuration, enabling the required changes to be deployed in a few minutes instead of weeks or months.

The bottom line: With centralized orchestration, a business-driven SD-WAN minimizes human error, making changes easier and enables faster response to business needs. 


2. Continuous self-learning

A basic SD-WAN solution steers traffic according to predefined rules, usually programmed via templates. A business-driven SD-WAN, delivers optimal application performance under any network condition or changes including congestion and when impairments occur. Through continuous monitoring and self-learning, a business-driven SD-WAN responds automatically in real-time to any changes in the state of the network. A business-driven SD-WAN continuously adapts to changes in the network, automatically adapting in real time to any changes that could impact application performance, including network congestion, brownout and blackout conditions, allowing users to alway connect to an application without manual IT intervention. For example, should a WAN transport service or cloud security service experience a performance impairment, the network automatically adapts to keep traffic flowing while maintaining compliance with business policies.


3. Consistent Quality of Experience (QoEx). 


A key benefit of an SD-WAN solution is the ability to actively use multiple forms of WAN transport. A basic solution can direct traffic on an application basis down a single path, and if that path fails or is underperforming, it can dynamically redirect to a better performing link. However, with many basic solutions, failover times around outages are measured in tens of seconds or longer, often resulting in annoying application interruption. A business-driven SD-WAN intelligently monitors and manages all underlay transport services. It can overcome the challenges of packet loss, latency and jitter to deliver the highest levels of application performance and QoEX to users, even when WAN transport services are impaired. Unlike a basic SD-WAN, a business-driven SD-WAN handles a total transport outage seamlessly and provides sub-second failover that doesn't interrupt business-critical applications such as voice and video communications.


4. End-to-end Micro-segmentation. 

While basic SD-WANs provide the equivalent of a VPN service, a business-driven SD-WAN provides more comprehensive, end-to-end security capabilities. In addition to supporting a stateful zone-based firewall, the SD-WAN platform should orchestrate and enforce end-to-end micro-segmentation spanning the LAN-WAN-Data center and the LAN-WAN-Cloud. Centrally configured security policies are far more consistent due to fewer human errors than with a device-centric WAN model or a basic SD-WAN model that often require configuring policies on a device-by-device basis. If a policy requires a change, it is programmed centrally with a business-driven SD-WAN and pushed to 1000s of nodes across the network, providing a significant increase in operational efficiency while reducing the overall attack surface and avoiding any security breaches.


5. Local Internet Breakout for Cloud Applications.


Many basic SD-WANs provide some application classification capabilities based on fixed definitions and manually scripted ACLs to direct SaaS and IaaS traffic directly across the internet. However, cloud applications change constantly. A business-driven SD-WAN continuously adapts to changes and provides automated daily application definition and IP address updates. This eliminates application interruption and user productivity issues.


With a business-driven SD-WAN, the network becomes a business enabler, not a constraint. By shifting to a business-driven SD-WAN platform, that unifies SD-WAN, firewall, segmentation, routing, WAN optimization and visibility and control functions, all in a single, centrally managed platform.

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