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The Modern Secure
Network Blog

Company Updates

Digital Transformation with Versa’s SD-Branch

kelly-ahuja
By Kelly Ahuja
CEO, Versa Networks
May 10, 2017

Enterprise CIOs are preparing for a digital transformation by developing strategies that “software define” different aspects of their architecture, processes and organization. In general, this strategy includes creating and adopting new, nimbler operational processes that are automated and provide better total cost of ownership in all aspects of the business.

This transformation began in enterprise application and data center domains a couple of years back. Many enterprises adopted new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models and began moving business-critical applications to public cloud infrastructures. Consequently, today’s enterprise data center and IT application environments are simpler. The popularity of Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure in the last few years is a testament to this trend. While this transformation did simplify the data-center environment, it also made wide-area network (WAN) requirements associated with branch networks significantly more stringent.

For this cloud era, where every small task at a branch site is dependent on applications that require cloud connectivity, the new WAN needs to be a lot more reliable, a lot more secure and very high performing. In addition, both the adoption of mobile solutions and the transition to the cloud are changing network topologies so significantly that the WAN simply cannot be managed by the static configurations used until now. Traditional network topology used a simple “many-to-one” relationship; branch networks usually accessed applications from a handful of datacenters. Network topologies of a digital organization require a dynamic and complex “many-to-many” topology that allows a group of devices (the branch) to access specific applications from different clouds, each of which may have distributed nodes around the globe.

Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a new emerging solution that attempts to solve some of these challenges, and many startups and traditional vendors have launched SD-WANs. In their basic form, most of these solutions allow enterprise customers to do the following:

  1. Use any access transport service (MPLS, Broadband, LTE)
  2. Create multiple overlay paths between sites
  3. Enable dynamic path-selection policy to route application traffic
  4. Apply continuous link monitoring to auto-reroute traffic onto an alternate path
  5. Define a web-based portal for centralized policy management

While many vendors support the basic features highlighted above, it is important to note that path diversity does not provide the overall objective and requirements associated with digital transformation. Most SD-WAN vendors have just built a good-looking graphical user interface as a token of simplicity and invested time in creating an ROI tool that actually shows returns only if you factor in the cost savings of migrating from MPLS to broadband. In addition, their propriety-solution approach (often referred to as innovation or secret sauce) often translates into significant migration and vendor lock-in costs.

At Versa Networks, we have taken a holistic approach for enabling digital transformation. We have software-defined the networking, security and application experience while significantly improving the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) compared to other solutions. Versa’s Software-Defined Branch (SD-Branch) solution allows organizations to use intuitive design and to deploy and operate the framework to create and manage a Secure SD-WAN fabric between their application nodes and branch nodes.

In the design phase, customers define and templatize services on the physical and/or virtual Versa nodes at branch sites and/or in public clouds such as Amazon/Azure. The deployment phase deals with enabling services at these nodes via a zero-touch provisioning process. The operate process focuses on all subsequent requirements associated with the management of application-centric networking and security environments as well as on generating business insights driven from a big-data analytics engine.

Today, many customers have successfully deployed Versa’s simplified branch solution around the globe. For more information about the Versa simplified branch solution and Versa products, please visit versanetworks.wpengine.com/lp-sdbranch.