Monday, October 9, 2017

SD-WAN as Feature Not Product

For the last four years, I've looked at SD-WAN as a replacement for routers and packet routing. In simplest terms,

1. upgrade the router applications and operating system to support multi-path operations, flow balancing and telemetry at the edge of the network. Then
2. add a solid implementation of WAN management software somewhere that does configuration management, asset control, visibility and troubleshooting and
3. you have an SD-WAN platform/solution.
4. Choose features to add glamour/differentation to your product such as cloud backhaul, IP Routing, acceleration, and so on.

In this announcement from Riverbed about an appliance for the network edge/branch office, SD-WAN has become a single feature of many in an appliance that connects to Azure Public cloud.

Riverbed azure ready edge new

The Steelfusion Azure-Ready appliance has a bunch of application services. WAN-op, SD-WAN, IP Services (DDI), Firewall are systems that are application focused (not packet or routing focussed).

A multifunction edge running NFV software means it can change quickly. As Azure changes, so can the network appliance. If MS adds a new service , then Riverbed can add more services to add value.

Some thoughts, in no particular order.

0. Packets and routing are not core to this product. Applications are. The signs are clear that Enterprise routing is dying (not dead but dying)
1. Riverbed is repackaging WAN Acceleration technology for the public cloud by focussing on applications instead of packet. Riverbed wants to transition its installed base so it seems a logical business choice.
2. The network edge is an multi-function application gateway. Instead of many devices its just one. ergo "routers are dying".
3. The existing ideas of Routing, WAN Acceleration, Load Balancing, IPSec tunnels, and Branch Networks as separate and distinct products is dying (not dead, just dying back).
4. How fast will these products become features ? 1 year, 5 years or 10 years ?

Extend Cloud Resources to the Azure-Ready Edge | Riverbed Blog Retrieved 2 Oct, 2017

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