Software-as-a-Service Innovation of the Year
While experts estimate that up to 70 percent of applications have already moved to the cloud, the transformational promise of the cloud has fallen short of the hype expectations. One challenge is that router-centric and basic SD-WAN approaches weren’t architected to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing business requirements. The fundamental nature of applications has changed, and security needs are different when everything is open and connected in the cloud. Today’s imperative for geographically distributed enterprises is to liberate their applications from the compromises and constraints of existing WAN approaches by shifting to a business-first networking model.
A business-driven SD-WAN provides geographically distributed organisations with the ability to securely and efficiently connect users in branch and remote sites directly to applications hosted in the data centre and cloud. An SD-WAN provides the flexibility to use any combination of transport connectivity – MPLS, broadband, 4G LTE – and logically bond multiple links into virtual overlays, giving every application the network resources it truly needs to deliver the highest quality of experience to end users. With a business-first SD-WAN, the network enables the business, rather than the business conforming to the constraints of the network.
Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect
Distributed organisations should seek a unified SD-WAN edge platform that has been designed to unify SD-WAN, firewall, segmentation, routing, WAN optimisation and application visibility and control in a single, centrally managed, system. In the inaugural Gartner WAN Edge Magic Quadrant, released in October last year, Silver Peak was recognised as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for WAN edge infrastructure.1 Delivered as either virtual and physical appliances, with the ability to deploy instances in the cloud, the Unity EdgeConnect™ SD-WAN Edge platform offers centralised orchestration with complete observability of the entire WAN through a single pane of glass.
EdgeConnect provides routing interoperability for mixed environments and robust security, including a stateful firewall, zone-based segmentation, local internet breakout and the ability to service chain applications traffic to industry leading next generation security infrastructure and cloud-delivered security services. EdgeConnect is also fully interoperable with existing WAN infrastructure to provide a graceful migration at a business’ desired pace, as fixed contracts for MPLS and routers come up for renewal. Key EdgeConnect features include:
• Zero-touch provisioning – for centralised orchestration and deployment in minutes, automatically connecting to users to applications
• First-packet iQ – to identify more than 10,000 applications and 300 million web domains based on the first packet received for secure connectivity with the highest levels of application awareness and intelligence available
• Unified zone-based stateful firewall – for secure internet breakout–providing security capabilities for branch office locations that don’t host applications
• Seamless routing interoperability – to support industry-standard BGP and OSPF routing protocols for interoperability between the SD-WAN and conventional router-centric WAN architectures, enabling customers to transition to a thin branch without sacrificing performance, security and reliability
• Tunnel bonding – configured from two or more physical WAN transport services, bonded tunnels form a single logical overlay connection, for maximum performance and to mitigate link failure
• Path conditioning – ensuring broadband and MPLS links operate like private-lines, countering dropped or out-of-order packets
• Dynamic Path Control (DPC) – for real-time traffic steering over any broadband/MPLS link based on business intent policies. With outages/brownouts, DPC automatically fails-over to a secondary connection in under a second, maintaining application availability and performance
• WAN hardening – data is secured edge-to-edge via 256-bit AES encrypted tunnels. This secures branch offices without deploying and managing dedicated firewalls
• Cloud intelligence – real-time updates on the best performing path to reach hundreds of SaaS applications, connecting users to applications in the fastest, most direct path available
• Bandwidth cost savings reports – documents the cost savings for moving to broadband connectivity
Included with EdgeConnect is the Unity Orchestrator centralised management software, which enables unprecedented visibility into applications, and the ability centrally assign policies based on business intent to secure and control all WAN traffic. Unity Boost™ is an optional WAN optimisation software performance pack that enables companies to dramatically accelerate the performance of latency-sensitive applications and minimise transmission of repetitive data across the WAN.
The Silver Peak SD-WAN edge approach truly sets itself apart from competitors as the company is, and always has been, a specialist veteran in the SD-WAN and WAN optimisation industry. Many WAN industry participants are trying to offer customers too much and customer results can suffer. Silver Peak focuses exclusively on SD-WAN and that’s why it is the leading SD-WAN solution designed for the cloud-first enterprise and is recognised as a Leader by analysts such as IDC in its latest SD-WAN Market Share report.
Unity EdgeConnect is designed for the cloud, with advanced capabilities that automatically detect changing conditions and make adjustments before they cause problems for the end user. The company’s sole focus on SD-WAN means lightning fast application performance that doesn’t experience outages. Simply put, it works better because more focus means more expertise.
Investing in the network – expanding the partner ecosystem
Throughout the last year, Silver Peak has been investing in partner programmes to help evangelise the technology and enable a business-driven SD-WAN approach for partners around the world. Launched programmes include the Silver Peak Partner Edge programme that was announced in November 2018. The company is making strategic investments to build the industry’s most robust and expansive SD-WAN partner programme and equip partners to drive business opportunity and growth. The new programme is more predictable, while making incentives and value-added offerings easier to obtain for partners, and also reinforces the company’s commitment to partners through bolstered resources and training.
Silver Peak also boasts the broadest public cloud service partner ecosystem in the industry after January 2019, when it added Google Cloud to existing partners; Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Indeed, enterprise customers benefit from the ability to host EdgeConnect across any combination of the four leading public cloud services platforms with the same ease of deployment, feature and license parity and the highest levels of performance and efficiency.
Strategic hires for global expansion
To maintain its leadership in the market, Silver Peak continues to make strategic hires and investments in global locations. December 2018 saw Silver Peak considerably bolster its senior team, hiring two new executives to lead the company through the next phase of growth and expansion. These include Rick Valentine, chief customer officer and Kathleen Swift, senior vice president, human resources.
In addition, Silver Peak continued to reinforce and invest in the APAC and EMEA regions. In January 2019, Silver Peak announced the appointment of Dean Vaughan as vice president of sales for Asia Pacific and Japan to accelerate business expansion and customer acquisition through the company’s enterprise and service provider channels across the region. Moreover, Silver Peak further announced in August 2019 that it had appointment three regional EMEA account managers to deepen partner engagement and drive sales growth across the UK, France and Germany. The new appointments Wayne Newman in the UK and Ireland, Philippe Dufour in France and Sarah Ramezanpour in DACH.
Case study: Dunelm
This year, Dunelm, leading home retailer in the UK, turned to Silver Peak and the Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform to rearchitect its WAN. It sought to liberate applications from the constraints of existing WAN approaches and shift to a business-first networking model to ensure holistic network performance and security.
With more than 170 stores and a popular ecommerce website, Dunelm is continually working to make shopping easy and convenient for its customers. That’s the motivation for its transformation from traditional retailing to a multichannel business, introducing innovations like mobile POS devices in stores. However, Dunelm’s traditional hub-and-spoke WAN architecture, connecting each store across a single MPLS circuit to a central data centre, was not up to the task. For example, frequent circuit outages took stores offline, impacting business operations.
After meeting with Silver Peak, Dunelm saw immediately that the Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform fit the bill. As such, Dunelm rolled out EdgeConnect to all 170-plus stores, as well as warehouses, depots, business offices, manufacturing facilities, a call centre, and a photo studio. In total, the SD-WAN will include 196 sites once fully deployed. Pricing updates that previously took up to 15 minutes now finish in seconds and latency was improved, with a reduction of up to 70 percent for some applications. Dunelm estimates it will save nearly £400,000 per year once the full rollout of the EdgeConnect SD-WAN is complete.
Ultimately, as a result of deploying a business-drive SD-WAN edge platform, Dunelm was able to achieve a multitude of business benefits. These include:
• Gained a fourfold increase in network throughput with Unity Boost
• Reduced the time to send pricing updates to stores from up to 15 minutes to just seconds
• Improved application performance, reducing latency by up to 70 percent
• Increased network resiliency with dual DIA links at 40 percent lower cost than single MPLS
• Consolidated edge, retiring routers, firewalls, and carrier-specific networking devices, saving nearly £400,000 per year
• Accelerated rollout of new store services from weeks to 20 minutes
• Enabled store associates to focus on optimising the customer experience instead of covering for network outages
1 – https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/3891709
2 – https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS45380319