As cloud computing continues to evolve, many organizations are starting to realize that the local data center is no longer the center of the networking universe. Via software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs), application traffic is just as likely to be routed directly between a branch office and a cloud service as it is to be backhauled through a local data center.
Aiming to make it simpler for IT organizations to make local data centers part of an SD-WAN, Riverbed Technology today unveiled a new gateway that combines wide area network (WAN) optimization with SD-WAN functionality. Milind Bhise, senior director of product marketing for Riverbed, says the basic idea is to reduce the complexity of tying a data center into a larger SD-WAN fabric via a SteelConnect SDI-5030 Data Center Gateway Appliance that in turn is connected to SD-WAN appliances running in a remote office.
At the same time, Riverbed is announcing that it is extending its ability to connect distributed IT sites to public clouds via a single click. In addition to existing support for Amazon Web Services, Bhise says, Steelhead Connect software now supports Microsoft Azure.
“Most customers now need to access multiple clouds,” says Bhise.
The rise of those clouds, adds Bhise, is fundamentally changing the way those IT organizations need to approach networking. Instead of thinking merely in terms of network links, software-defined networking technologies make it feasible for IT organizations to take a more application-centric view of networking. Accomplishing that goal, however, requires a network fabric that can identify which network resources are specifically being consumed by which application, when and where, across a WAN.
The shift toward software-defined networks (SDN) is happening steadily across the enterprise. But as enterprise IT organizations make that shift, many of them are about to discover that previous approaches to managing physical network segments in isolation no longer make as much sense as they did in an earlier era of computing.