ChannelVision Playbook Volume 7

It is another term, such as VoIP and WebRTC, which people are mis- taking for a product. It is a technology. We have hit the point where our daily reliance on cloud computing ap- plications and platforms has broken the enterprise MPLS. So much traffic goes out the Internet pipe that, in com- parison, the traffic inside the private network is small. We have transitioned to Office365, Google for Work, Salesforce and a host of other SaaS offerings. We have mi- grated business software to Azure, AWS, Rackspace and other IaaS and PaaS systems. All the traffic that used to stay within the walls of the enterprise network (the MPLS) has now left the network. Enterprise networks now require direct connections to Azure, AWS and other computing platforms for secure application performance. If we reduce application lag on the often-used apps, employees are more productive and less frustrated. Application acceleration is just one function that is inside the SD-WAN umbrella these days. WAN optimization that Riverbed was known for is now an SD-WAN function. Load balancing and circuit bonding are now under the umbrella. Monitoring and analytics are the intelli- gence that is needed for the IT admin- istrator. This new transparency into the WAN will be a bellwhether. Another function in the SD-WAN bucket is quality of service packet shift- ing, which will come in handy for many. As offices require bigger bandwidth at rural, remote and branch offices, where bandwidth may be at a premium or un- available from more than one provider, circuit bonding will be standard on an SD-WAN white box deployment. With monitoring and analytics lay- ered on top of QoS routing, the CPE will determine which path is best for real- time packets such as VoIP and video. If a branch office can only get a DSL circuit, they can add a 4G card and per- haps fixed wireless (if available). These circuits can be bonded to look like a big pipe by the white box the provider sends out with the SD-WAN deployment. The best path for packets can be determined and switched in real time. Analytics and monitoring mean that the SD-WAN box will act like a cop on cable modems, DSL circuits, 4G cards and fixed wireless. If those circuits have congestion, we will know. If those circuits are unusable, we will know. If these circuits are blocking VoIP ports, the SD-WAN box will pick it up. Take all of that together and not only does the branch office or remote site get failover from having two broadband pipes, it gets a traffic cop. This traffic cop will also be the SLA killer. Right now, unless we pay attention, there isn’t a way to know when a circuit is out of SLA (the service level agreement). Yet with monitoring and transparency, we will know when the circuit is out of SLA. Then we can hold the provider to it. It won’t be fun for the network op- erators that like to over-subscribe or not worry about throughput. Soon they will have to worry. One cable company was caught by the state of New York charging for big pipes that they sold but actually delivering less than half of the promised speed. Soon the user will have a measurement and reporting tool. There are some available now, but with SD-WAN, that white box CPE will be performing many services and views. The network operators have already installed SDN to power the SD-WAN offerings that they are currently testing. The umbrella for SD-WAN is covering many functions now, making the term murky, similar to unified communica- tions. It holds great promise for the alter- native providers, the former CLECs, that could be the leaders in SLAs and being traffic cops. o Peter Radizeski, president of RAD-INFO INC, started as a VAR, then became an agent. Now he writes about the channel and the telecom space while consulting to service providers and occasionally still selling some circuits. Other Implications of SD-WAN Cable Cop and the SLA Killer By Peter Radizeski D espite all the hype, we are in the very early days of SD-WAN. You’ve heard of it, SD-WAN, the term that stands for software-defined wide area network. 6 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK