Next-Gen SD-WANs Deliver Increased Intelligence, Automation


As organizations embrace a cloud strategy to support remote work requirements, it has become increasingly clear that they must modernize the wide-area network (WAN) infrastructure. In a recent global survey of more than 1,500 networking professionals, almost half reported that legacy WAN architectures make it difficult to reliably connect with cloud-based applications and services. 

Adoption of software-defined WAN (SD-WANs) platforms that optimize cloud traffic has soared in response to the challenge. Industry analysts say the market is growing by more than 30 percent annually as organizations revamp their networks to improve cloud connectivity and application performance. Still, basic SD-WANs solutions have important limitations. 

Next-generation solutions such as Aruba’s EdgeConnect SD-WANs platform address those limitations through self-learning features, automated orchestration, bandwidth optimization and simplified management. These and other factors contribute to a “business-first” networking approach that flips the script on conventional networking models. 

Accommodating Inefficiency 

In traditional router-centric WAN models, processes are often dictated by network constraints rather than business needs. For example, the hub-and-spoke WAN architecture leaves branch offices and remote workers with no direct access to cloud and Internet resources, forcing all cloud application traffic to be routed back to the data center. This highly inefficient technique known as backhauling helps improve security but creates significant latency problems that degrade application performance.  

SD-WANs offers a more efficient approach. Any-to-any connectivity between branch offices, remote users, data centers and cloud resources eliminates the need for backhauling and improves application performance. The ability to aggregate multiple connections also supports the real-time availability requirements of delay-sensitive voice and video applications. 

However, basic SD-WANs solutions lack the integration, intelligence and automation to meet the demands of today’s distributed organizations. That’s where business-driven platforms such as the Aruba solution have an edge.

Focus on Business Requirements 

The EdgeConnect platform was designed from the ground up as a single system that tightly integrates SD-WANs, firewall, segmentation, routing, WAN optimization, and application visibility and control in one centrally managed platform. Artificial intelligence and machine learning functions automate many tasks and contribute to a self-learning network that continuously adjusts to network conditions. 

Business intent overlays (BIOs) dictate how applications are delivered across the WAN. From the Aruba Orchestrator dashboard, administrators can create multiple BIOs with policies customized for specific application and network requirements. 

Once the policies are defined, they are automatically pushed to hundreds or thousands of branch sites without the need to send IT staff to manually configure individual devices. If policies require changes, they can be configured and deployed through Orchestrator in a matter of hours. 

We Can Help

SD-WANs have helped countless organizations improve their ability to support branch offices and remote workers with cloud-based applications and services. However, basic solutions still have limitations that create significant management overhead. Next-generation platforms such as Aruba’s EdgeConnect offer a smarter, more business-oriented solution through increased intelligence and automation. Contact us to discuss how EdgeConnect could benefit your organization.