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Industry Insights

How Application Aware Routing Creates Business Intelligent WANs

By Versa Staff
Versa Networks
May 2, 2019

A fundamental transformation is occurring with the management and control of applications, as network edges become software-defined, which goes far beyond today’s destination-based routing.

Significant advantages can be achieved using cloud-native SD-WANs to bring greater levels of application intelligence to business connectivity. Application-aware routing understands the paths applications need to take and provides greater management and control to deliver a quality user experience. Rather than focusing on just the network destination, and the complexities of their underpinnings, the emphasis is placed upon the applicationexperience need. Application-aware routing supports the business intent and context of how applications are used and need to be served, based on the business policies the organization prescribes.

SD-WAN uses active and passive monitoring of the fabric to dynamically track path and network characteristics, like packet loss, latency, jitter, load, bandwidth capacity and circuit cost. SD-WAN leverages the information it collects between edge/branch locations, and selectively directs application flows along the most optimal network paths that meets the business intent.

Application-aware routing directs traffic based upon an application’s predetermined SLA and user defined applicationprofiles. Traffic is automatically sent to WAN links that have the required network characteristics and path conditions to support these applications in real-time.

There are multiple advantages from application-aware routing, such as:
  • Lower bandwidth costs, because traffic is more efficiently balanced among the diverse circuits
  • Application performance is increased, without having to upgrade bandwidth
  • IT management and monitoring are simplified through the automation of dynamic traffic steering
  • Application reliability and consistency are achieved, by dynamically routing traffic among multiple circuits to ensure application experience parameters are met.

Rather than simply directing traffic based on routing protocols, Versa identifies, classifies and secures traffic based on the application ID. We leverage a database of over 3,600 application signatures and 100 million URLs, in concert with application session flow analysis as match conditions, combined with SLA definitions for dynamic routing-oriented steering policies.

Additionally, Versa can set up application-intelligent VPNs and connectivity with minimal configuration. For example, a site-to-site full-mesh VPN topology can be cost-effectively and quickly deployed, to deliver the highest levels of redundancy, which supports latency-sensitive applications like voice and video. Hub-and-spoke VPN topologies can also be set up to support Point-of-Sale (POS) or Electronic-medical-record (EMR) applications for compliance purposes, to ensure those services are routed through asecure hub site.

Versa’s Secure Cloud IP Architecture with application-aware routing, includes:
  • Multiprotocol BGP advertisements for application performance metrics within cloud exchange points and between every branch to enhance routing decisions based on application experience.
  • Versa’s Deep packet inspection (DPI) engine that identifiesapplications through protocol parsers, and monitors transport layer security handshakes, DNS, explicit and transparent proxies, statistical protocol identification (SPID) and machine learning to glean user-experience to optimize application-based routing.
  • Versa can also identify encrypted applications, define custom applications to add new applications to the database of application ID’s, ensuring data are always current for application ID as a match condition.
  • Versa also replicates packets, distributing the same packet across multiple paths for mission-critical applications based on policy triggers to ensure quality of application delivery and/or implements FEC (forward error correction).

SD-WAN abstracts application awareness and intelligence from the underlying network infrastructure, enabling enforceable policies to be applied based on application experience to create a businessintelligent WAN. SD-WAN can lower bandwidth costs and reduce network operations costs, while delivering the network agility and reliable connectivity enterprises require. But not all SD-WAN solutions are truly application user-experience aware. To achieve the full benefits that a business intelligent WAN can provide, an application-aware solution that optimizes the user experience is a key ingredient.