SD-WAN accelerates digital transformation with agile, programmable wide area networking. It speeds and simplifies deploying distributed networks at the edge to quickly migrate applications to the cloud, consume cloud/SaaS capabilities and deliver a greater user experience. SD-WAN accomplishes these things faster than legacy WANs with less cost and complexity and greater performance, security and scalability.
SD-WAN architectures are fundamental building blocks for agile and elastic digital infrastructure. It is the life-line to edge computing, connecting distributed infrastructure, cloud providers and users using more cost-effective programmable networks.
SD-WAN deployments are becoming more mainstream as businesses modernize their network architectures as part of their digital transformation strategies. IDC predicts that worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure revenue will grow at an annual rate of 12.3% between 2019 – 2024.[i] In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic threw the entire IT industry into a recession and the drop in enterprise CAPEX budgets had its impact on SD-WAN growth. However, as a result of the global pandemic, work from home mandates drove enterprise SD-WAN solutions further out at the edge to incorporate increasing numbers of mobile users.
Source: IDC, Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure Forecast, 2020–2024.
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SD-WAN components accelerate interconnectivity to the edge
SD-WAN components provide an orchestrator for single-pane, configuration and control, controllers/gateways for access and analytics, edge devices that routes the traffic via physical or virtual devices building and running a hybrid VPN using public and private network connectivity has never been easier.[ii] It is critical to host these components close to users, data, applications and clouds at the edge of the corporate network to reduce latency and deliver the highest quality of service (QoS) possible. With its global footprint of more than 220 Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers provide the points of presence (PoP) required for SD-WAN vendors to deliver SD-WAN services to more than 10,000 businesses at edge locations across 63 global metros.
The simplicity and programmability of SD-WAN takes away a lot of network complexity such as:
- Centralizing intelligent network traffic management
- Enabling zero touch provisioning for fast branch network provisioning
- Providing a secure transport-agnostic overlay and uses multi-path connectivity to reduce downtime (network redundancy)
- Supporting application-aware policy based routing, including cloud-to-cloud routing, optimizes traffic routing to improve performance
- Enabling greater network visibility and real-time network analytics
SD-WAN is also cloud ready and improves cloud application performance, management and visibility. And because most SD-WAN components from leading vendors standard hardware x86 server platforms, you don’t have to invest in a lot of expensive purpose-built network appliances as you add more SD-WAN devices to your network to reach distributed users.
One thing to note is that each vendor uses its own proprietary SD-WAN components, which prevents mixing and matching between different vendors’ devices. For example, if you have just acquired a company or some of your business units are using SD-WAN solutions from different vendors, how do you get them to talk to each other? And how do you provide an end-to-end solution when multiple managed service providers and carriers are involved?
When dealing with different SD-WAN solutions and service providers/carriers, leveraging a vendor-neutral platform such as Platform Equinix®, which supports all flavors of SD-WAN edge devices and an ecosystem of more than 1,800 network services, is an ideal solution. In addition, Equinix Fabric™ software-defined interconnection enables the integration of SD-WAN and network architectures from global vendors across Platform Equinix.
Network Edge “democratizes” SD-WAN deployment
Network Edge services from Equinix acts as a marketplace for deploying network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructure as-a-service on Platform Equinix. It remotely deploys virtual network devices, such as SD-WAN gateways at the edge via a single user portal to connect branch offices or other remote sites to IT infrastructure and to cloud services in minutes, without deploying additional hardware.
Network Edge enables access SD-WAN devices from all the industry leading vendors to globally interconnect users to applications, clouds and IT infrastructure at the edge. Supported SD-WAN vendors include Aruba/Silver Peak, Juniper, Cisco, Fortinet, Palo Alto/CloudGenix, Versa and VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud. Users access clouds using Network Edge via Equinix Fabric to build, high-performance, low-latency hybrid multicloud architectures.
Network Edge provides fast SD-WAN deployment via the Equinix Fabric portal in minutes. Device linking and clustering enables the mixing and matching of different vendors NFV devices across metros. Network Edge enables SD-WAN devices to deliver better performance when accessing cloud/SaaS capabilities because it leverages high-performance low-latency connections. In addition, vendor-agnostic and APIs enable greater network and cloud integration.
3 use cases for interconnecting multiple SD-WAN and cloud deployments
Use case #1: Bridging Multiple SD-WAN Deployments
This use case presents a reliable and flexible platform to bridge multiple SD-WAN and cloud deployments via Network Edge and Equinix Fabric software-defined interconnection. Different brands of SD-WAN devices, or those managed by different SD-WAN vendors/service providers, can be interconnected together at Equinix on a neutral and scalable global platform.
Use Case #2: Simplified Multi-Cloud Deployment with Network Edge
This use case reduces the complexity and cost of interconnecting hardware-dense SD-WAN infrastructure to multiple clouds by deploying virtual SD-WAN devices via Network Edge and aggregating private cloud connectivity using Equinix Fabric software-defined interconnection. Branch locations can be interconnected in minutes via virtual SD-WAN devices without additional hardware network appliances.
Use Case #3: Global Network with SD-WAN on Network Edge and Equinix Fabric
This use case reduces the complexity and cost of interconnecting multiple regions and branches across an SD-WAN backbone. Aggregates cloud connectivity, lowering networking costs. Integrates seamlessly with telco MPLS networks.
Equinix partner use cases such as VMware SD-WAN clustering and Cisco SD-WAN and cloud integration are also delivering enterprise-class application experiences.
Learn how you can build and interconnect SD-WAN architectures with Network Edge.
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Equinix Network Edge – Laying the Path to Agile, Multicloud Networking | Equinix Analyst Report
[i] IDC, “Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure Forecast, 2020–2024: Secular Trend Intact Despite 2020 COVID-19 Pause,” By: Rajesh Ghai, Petr Jirovsky, Brandon Butler, Brad Casemore and Rohit Mehra, August 2020, Doc # US46613320.