A fierce battle is under way for control of the edge of the network as providers of software-defined wide area networks move to shunt aside traditional routers, wide area network (WAN) optimization appliances and firewalls in favor of a more integrated platform approach to providing those services.
Silver Peak today is trying to advance that argument with the addition of enhancements to its Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN that adds support for BGP routing as well as a stateful firewall.
In addition, Silver Peak is adding a First-packet IQ capability that is based on the first packet received automatically identifying more than 10,000 applications and 300 million web domains. Damon Ennis, senior vice president of products for Silver Peak, says that capability will prove critical in terms of being able to route traffic coming off the edge of the network either back to a cloud service or a local data center or a cloud service without having to backhaul every packet to a central location.
Ennis says Unity EdgeConnect is a leading example of a shift being made to “Thin Branch” computing at the edge of the network. Instead of deploying separate routers, firewalls and other appliances, platforms such as Unity EdgeConnect create the opportunity to consolidate all those functions, says Ennis.
In general, IT organizations are looking to SD-WANs to employ internet connections in place of more expensive MPLS lines for certain classes of applications.
“Internet connections are one-tenth the cost of MPLS,” says Ennis.
But even though MPLS lines may be considerably more expensive than a standard internet connection, they do provide much higher levels of performance and security. The challenge facing IT organizations now is identifying which applications can be serviced by a lower-cost internet connection versus an MPLS line that should be reserved for a smaller number of latency-sensitive applications.