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Oct. 1, 2020
5 Features to Examine When Choosing the Right SD-WAN for Your Needs — Long gone are the days when bolted-on elementary SD-WAN functionality will suffice. Network requirements have evolved, and, […]

5 Features to Examine When Choosing the Right SD-WAN for Your Needs —

Long gone are the days when bolted-on elementary SD-WAN functionality will suffice. Network requirements have evolved, and, as a result, many service providers are re-evaluating SD-WAN solutions. Issues such as lackluster security, limited scalability, lack of automation and orchestration to simplify operations, inefficient cloud on-ramp, and incomplete cloud and SaaS integrations, can result in poor user experiences that diminish the value and benefits of an SD-WAN deployment.

Service providers and enterprises alike are adopting mature SD-WAN architectures which deliver additional networking capabilities necessary to meet today’s WAN Edge requirements.

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As you review these architectures, be sure the solution you choose offers the following 5 features:

Feature #1: Comprehensive Integrated Security

This includes next-generation firewall, an intrusion prevention system (IPS), secure virtual private networking, and universal threat management (UTM) within a single complete software stack. Without integration, SD-WAN solutions almost always require a separate security instantiation. The additional security solution often is a second software stack, a virtual network function (VNF), or worse a separate appliance altogether. This also necessitates a separate management interface for configuration, monitoring and changes.

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Feature #2: Scalable Advanced Routing

In addition to traditional routing functionality, which is table stakes for SD-WAN solutions, advanced capabilities should also be supported, including IPv6, static routing, OSPF v2/v3, MP-BGP4, RIPv2, BFD, ECMP, policy-based routing, route reflector, flow mirroring, and VRRP, to name a few. Along with these features, solutions should be able to make routing decisions, actions and modifications simultaneously with other functions such as security, SD-WAN and analytics. This dramatically increases the integration between these functions, significantly reduces latency, and mitigates the opportunity for error.

Feature #3: Genuine Multi-Tenancy

While most of today’s SD-WANs will list support for multi-tenancy, advanced SD-WAN solutions have genuine multi-tenancy that allows for total separation between every tenant and enables each to have a complete Secure SD-WAN implementation. These advanced functions include routing (BGP, GRE tunnels, IPv6, etc.), security (NGFW, UTM, IPS, etc.), and SD-WAN (profiles, policies, etc.). Each tenant should also contain completely separated roles-based access so operations such as SecOps, NetOps, and Application individuals within a tenant all have completely separate access.

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Feature #4: Sophisticated Analytics

It’s essential to have the ability to deliver historical and real-time analytics from layer 2 to layer 7 as a single solution which correlates data across multiple levels. Traditionally, multiple third-party tools are required to perform this capability although a Secure SD-WAN solution enables this as part of the system. Analytics has become essential for monitoring performance, impairments and issues while also providing proactive feedback on potential networking, application and security issues.

Feature #5: Enablers for Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

This combines security services such as secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access security broker (CASB), Next Generation Firewall as a service (NGFWaaS), and Zero Trust network access (ZTNA). Many enterprises have a vision to implement SASE in its entirety or as a hybrid model. Make sure the chosen solution can deliver this approach leveraging the capabilities and benefits of both the cloud and on-premises or split between the two.

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Organizations and their SD-WAN needs are evolving. Today’s network requirements are so much more complex and demanding than simply connecting a branch office over the Internet. Luckily, there are cost-effective advanced solutions available today that are dynamic enough to effectively address a wide variety of organizations’ new requirements to maximize users’ experiences. Today’s full-featured advanced SD-WAN options help businesses address all their security, routing, and connectivity needs without excessive costs, additional overhead, or business disruption.

About the Author

Michael Wood

Michael Wood is CMO, Versa Networks. Michael leads the Versa marketing organization and drives brand awareness, messaging, positioning, product marketing, demand generation, analyst engagements, press relations and corporate communications. He has more than 25 years of experience in networking and security, with extensive experience in marketing, product and engineering at companies such as StrataCom, Cisco, Akamai, VeloCloud, VMware and Apstra. For more information, please email [email protected] or visit