Silver Peak adds massive global scalability to SD-WAN edge platform

The Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform receives new multi-fabric orchestration and management and one-click automation capabilities, as well as the ability to easily manage many more sites than before.

SD-WAN vendor Silver Peak has announced an enhanced version of its Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform. The objective is to expand the scale of what the platform could manage, to keep up with the increased demands at the edge created by the proliferation of new devices. The tools for doing this – in a way that is simple for admins to manage – include enhancing the Unity Orchestrator Global Enterprise management software.

“This is all about global scaling,” said Damon Ennis, SVP of Product at Silver Peak. “It’s about going from managing thousands of sites to managing tens of thousands of sites. With edge devices, the definition of ‘site’ is changing with the proliferation of edge devices, so that need to scale is very real.”

The new Unity Orchestrator Global Enterprise management software is designed for large-scale global enterprises with multiple divisions, business units or subsidiaries that each require a dedicated SD-WAN fabric.

“It scales to tens of thousands of sites – and gives an admin easy control over the network,” Ennis said.

Each fabric can be individually orchestrated and managed for centralized network-wide observability and control, with a single sign on to all fabrics.

“It also allows for regional overlay and routing, that provides a consistent definition, for quality of service, but with flexibility permitted in application SLA,” Ennis said. “This lets you tune it on a regional basis.”

It uses a standard 25 Gb/s interface.

“There was a slight blip to 40 Gb/s, but the industry has focused around 25, and we have aligned with that,” Ennis said. “25 Gb/s is the way-station to 100 Gb/s. 40 Gb/s was just too painful for many people. 25 Gb is the reality for several years.”

The second pillar of the announcement is one-click automation. That includes optimal connectivity to Azure IaaS, which is new, and lets network managers now automatically identify, classify and onboard Azure-destined traffic to the nearest Microsoft Virtual WAN on-ramp in proximity to each branch location.

One-click support for Office 365 was also announced.

“The Office 365 support itself is not new, but what is new there is that Microsoft has recently introduced a certification for that – Microsoft Office 365 Networking Partner,” Ennis indicated. “We now have that official certification, and that is new.”

New integrations for automation and orchestration have also been announced for ZScaler and Check Point. They allow the automated configuration of IPsec tunnels from branch locations to the nearest cloud-delivered security Point of Presence with a single drag and drop click.

“In the past, these would have taken weeks because it required CLI commands on a thousand routers,” Ennis said. “Now it can be done in minutes.”

The third plank of the announcement is the introduction of new advanced segmentation capabilities into the platform. New VRF [virtual routing and forwarding] capabilities let network managers apply advanced segmentation to routes and application traffic with just a few mouse clicks within the Orchestrator management interface. It eliminates the need to manually stitching together VRF, firewall and Network Address Translation policies consistently.

“This is really geared to M&A use cases, enabling common application performance,” Ennis said. “Cisco gives you separate control planes with a lot of CLI commands. We have fully automated it within a single pane of glass.”

Ennis expressed confidence that SD-WAN won’t be disintermediated by the growth of the public clouds.

“It’s a great vision that everything goes to the cloud, and that’s what we enable,” he said. “But there’s still lots of branch to branch traffic, and you need a fabric to be able to maintain all of that. You have to support multiple links and you need a  fabric to maintain that and make sure it’s secure.”

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