For the last few years, the networking space has seen some dramatic changes, taking it to the forefront (or backbone) of today’s latest technology advancements. Platforms like IoT, the advance of 5G, AI, and security are all surging forward into business operational plans for IT teams. Without the backbone of a strong network that can handle the demand, these new technologies will fall flat and struggle to provide their promised solutions. The WAN has been a focal point for IT teams as they upgrade and convert legacy connectivity and boxes to the latest solutions like SD-WAN.
As the edge and the WAN continue to be at the forefront of IT departments, the next evolution will move from more and more vendors at the edge to fewer and fewer. Consolidation and integration will drive the latest conversations and planning meetings to ensure that not only do organizations have the best in breed at the edge, but the most efficient stack to back it up. Gone are the days of multiple vendors covering their niche area and here are the days of integrated solutions, better visibility, less desperate systems across the network ecosystem.
Enter the SD-Branch.
The cloud is an invaluable asset to modern organizations. With the benefits of OpEx versus CapEx, more stability, lower costs, and much more, it’s a constant staple in today’s network ecosystem. It’s also often a platform that makes waves in the rest of the network design and performance. With more and more moving away from on-premises, the network has to sustain more demand to stay connected. Configuring your edge solutions with the SD-Branch mindset means identifying the best solutions to mitigate the performance degradation and bandwidth costs that the cloud may come with.
IoT & Edge Apps
The latest and greatest for many organizations means implementing IoT platforms and other edge applications into the network. This might include beacons or RFID sensors for retailers, POS platforms for grocers, security and camera platforms for buildings, or self-service platforms for banks or restaurants. Each of these is highly accountable to near real-timer performance forcing the brunt of the work onto the network and the platforms that the edge supports. It’s critical when designing out the SD-Branch to ensure the vendors being selected are equipped to handle an ever-increasing demand from new technologies.
One of the downsides to more vendors and technologies at the edge is that there becomes multiple points of potential failure or points of weakness. The draw of the SD-Branch model means that the number of vendors is consolidates, the integrations are managed more tightly and that leaves less room for compromises in the security.
The Hardware Stack
Does your stack have firewalls? Routers? Switches? WAPs? Enabling and connecting each of the core components at the edge is simpler when there is a centralized platform and view into each component. The SD-Branch approach focuses on each component as a part of the holistic network design and solution.
While SD-WAN has set the stage for bigger and brighter network solutions, the next step will be more focused on streamlining and simplifying the network edge. The SD-Branch strategy focuses in on the network performance, consolidating the number of vendors at the edge, and focusing on delivering better performance with more intelligent solutions. This will ultimately drive the next generation of SD-WAN adopters.