How to Achieve End-to-End Control
A next-gen SD-WAN should have functional capabilities that include routing, connectivity, WiFi, LTE, security, NGFW with UTM functions, rich SD-WAN functions, and robust WAN optimization.
The combination of all these capabilities enables advanced analytics, visibility, and automation and with those three together: organizations can create a consolidated and unified software platform.
With these services embedded within a single software stack and the data (such as logging, events, and other information collected into the central controller) IT has a single location for control, analytics, and visibility. Administrators only need to go to one interface to see routing, transport, security, and SD-WAN events. This simplifies the correlation between everything. It also eliminates the complexity of having to manage and correlate the data from every individual function, like firewall, WAN optimizer, router, and SD-WAN, from multiple vendors.
A single software stack can optimize performance through its native service chaining architecture. Network and security functions can be connected logically and cohesively while carrying information along the service chain, as packets proceed on the chain, from one function to another. A single memory copy operation can extract packet information for fast performance, and perform lookups based on the information extracted. Operations can be further optimized when a packet is offloaded to the fastest path. The next-gen SD-WAN can process the rest of the packets in the same flow without requiring detailed lookups and achieve consistent execution of forwarding, packet manipulations, QoS/HQoS functions, packet encapsulation, and decapsulation, etc.
How to Implement Robust Multi-Layered Security
A next-gen SD-WAN with embedded security will protect against increasing Internet and branch cyber threats that are growing more complex every day.
Security functions like firewalls, access control and filtering, anti-virus/malware, and DNS, are required when data center and cloud resources are accessed by branch office users. The challenge for IT is how to efficiently deploy and monitor all this functionality within their remote offices. They need centralized provisioning, deployment, and monitoring, and have little to no technical personnel located within the branches. This is where next-gen SD-WAN shines.
Whereas traditional networks have a complex jumble of diverse single-function proprietary hardware appliances that require technicians to deploy and monitor, a next-gen SD-WAN simplifies this, with a central controller and edge devices deployed in each branch. Rather than being hardware-bound, the SD-WAN is software-based, built on software-defined networking (SDN), with a network functions virtualization (NFV) approach and cloud principals.
By leveraging robust network and security virtual network functions (VNFs), the SD-WAN can provide all the security functions at the branch offices – all deployed and monitored centrally. Cost and operational flexibility are obtained by leveraging an open-standard-based cloud-native, multi-stack solution for embedded network and security applications with robust features, as well as, third-party VNF services using their brand preference.