’Tis a Gift to be Simple—So Simplify Your WAN Management

Abstraction is an enormously powerful technique for simplifying a technology environment. Hiding the details of an implementation behind a wall of abstraction—putting something in a black box, basically—lets consumers of the service implemented focus on the details of its use and not the details of how that use is enabled.

One of the key benefits of SD-WAN is that it abstracts the WAN in two directions. Looking down, SD-WAN solutions allow multiple kinds of connectivity at each location—mix and match to suit the need—but hide the details of using them

flexibly and dynamically. When you experience link reliability problems, you don’t have to tell the SD-WAN to stop using one link and start using another each time there is trouble. Instead, having set up policies defining what kinds of service different applications need, you expect the SDWAN solution to respond for you. The link layer has been abstracted behind a wall of service targets and the SD-WAN will try to meet them using all the resources it has available.

Looking up, SD-WAN solutions allow the mapping of multiple virtual WANs onto a single mesh of physical links. That is, they allow IT to define, by application or traffic type or location or other criteria, logical WAN architectures that are independent of each other. So, some traffic might be allowed to flow in a free mesh, with any node able to send traffic directly to any other; Skype or other peer-­‐to-­‐peer UC, for example. Other traffic might be forced into a rigid hub-­‐and-­‐spoke pattern, so that all packets go through a centrally located archiving or security appliance; for example, investment bankers’ IMs with clients. The point is, IT spends a lot of time now trying to juggle the overlapping demands of their WAN use cases via ACLs and the like, in a sort of Frankensteinian Venn diagram from Hell. Instead of trying to make a bunch of individual routers behave as the right way to meet all the conflicting demands, SD-WANs hide the low level fiddling and let you focus on the needs of each group by setting up for each its own logical WAN. Each is simple, comparatively, and the SD-WAN solution, not you, juggles the complexities.

So, while the idea of melding many kinds of connectivity to meet the needs of many overlaid virtual WANs seems more complicated than the current method, in fact it makes IT’s life easier. It makes the WAN more comprehensible to those designing and managing it and shifts to the SD-WAN solution the burden of making all the overlaid networks cohabitate politely. If, as the old Shaker dance tune would have it, “It’s a gift to be simple,” well, then , network architects and engineers and admins should be looking into how to give themselves the gift of simplicity on their WANs.

To learn more, join the upcoming Nemertes and Talari webinar, Demystifying the Software Defined WAN. Register here.

Categories: Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN)