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Improving Business Agility With Viptela SD-WAN

  1. The SD-WAN Future Is Now
  2. Enabling The Most Remote Offices With Viptela
  3. Improving Business Agility With Viptela SD-WAN
  4. How Kindred Healthcare Uses SD-WAN to Secure Patient Data
  5. Kindred Healthcare Highlights Viptela SD-WAN Benefits

The Packet Pushers Podcast recently recorded a Viptela sponsored, live podcast, in New York City. The podcast is titled “Inside Three Real-World SD-WAN Deployments“, and appropriately so since Viptela would prefer their customers talk about the product than putting a sales team in front of the microphones. Since this recording happened the same week as the ONUG 2016 Fall conference, also in NYC, I was able to attend and listen in to what these customers had to say about how Viptela has been helping their organization improve their Wide Area Networks.

Viptela Packet Pushers Podcast - ONUG Fall 2016

The heart of the message was clear; the very nature of Viptela’s SD-WAN solution is dramatically improving their teams’ ability to respond to increasingly dynamic business environments.

Architecture flexibility changes the very definition of a branch.

How do we define a branch today? Most of our minds likely picture a leased office space, a building, or even a campus of buildings. But what happens if your “branch” consists of one room within another organization’s building? What if it is even smaller, like a single machine located in a partner’s facility. What if your branch isn’t in a building at all? Traditional connectivity methods limit what options you have when deploying a “branch”, but Viptela’s SD-WAN solution can help. Kindred Healthcare ran into this very problem when they were deploying medical clinics outside of their physical locations. Connectivity by itself wasn’t necessarily the issue, but only the Viptela solution allowed them to provide that connectivity while still maintaining the same levels of segmentation and security that they had designed into the rest of their network. When using a product like Viptela, any location with Internet access can now be a fully defined and secured branch, regardless of where it is located.

Transport independence enables IT teams to respond quickly to business changes.

Traditionally, the routing policy for a site had to be designed based upon the quantity, types, and topology of the circuits available to it. A change in any detail of one of these circuits would most likely lead to changes in the routing policy or topology.

This isn’t the case in a Viptela SD-WAN network. By abstracting the routing logic, from the circuits that logic uses for transport, it removes the dependence on any specific detail of the underlying infrastructure. What does this mean practically? You can deploy a site on a secondary or tertiary connectivity option while waiting for a primary circuit to be delivered. Or, if there is a business advantage to switching carriers or circuit types, you can do this with no perceivable change in how traffic logically flows. 77 Energy highlighted this benefit when they shared that one of their exploration sites may come online or move with a weeks notice or less. By having the ability to leverage 4G or broadband circuits, they are abile to meet these demands without having to sacrifice or change the way that site’s traffic behaves.

Viptela Transport

Overlay networks simplify the modification of routing policy.

Using traditional WAN technology, how long would it take you to deploy a segmented section of your network across all your WAN sites? Unless you are a service provider, or very large enterprise, the answer is likely several weeks or months. Typical enterprise networks simply don’t have the technology in place, or the engineering staff on-hand, to build out the infrastructure required to run the overlay networks required to do such a task.

Amazingly, when the same topic was approached on the podcast, Kindred Healthcare said it takes them just minutes to deploy a new overlay topology on their WAN. What traditionally would have taken some combination of VRFs, MPLS L3VPN, or manual tunneling in current day networks, requires just a few clicks in the management portal and the configuration is automatically deployed to their endpoints. This has dramatically improved their ability to quickly run proof-of-concept testing as well as significantly reduced the amount of time it takes them to establish connectivity with acquisitions.

Final Thoughts

The technical features of SD-WAN can be impressive on their own, but the real value is what those features deliver in supporting the needs of the business. Most businesses are needing to respond to change at ever increasing rates just to stay competitive. Traditional network models, built with dependency on carrier provided circuits, have been notoriously slow to implement and require long contractual commitments. Qualities that don’t speak to the flexibility being required of modern IT teams. The abstraction, independence, centralized control, and deeper network intelligence that Viptela’s SD-WAN solution provide, however, are enabling network teams to respond quickly when the business demands it.

About the author

Jordan Martin

Jordan Martin is currently a Principal Consultant of datacenter technologies with a Cisco gold partner. He comes from a background in several industries including finance, healthcare, and most recently a global managed call center provider. He calls Allentown, PA his home but can frequently be found in various locations assisting customers in infrastructure upgrades and installations. Outside of work, Jordan is a proud husband and father of 3. If all of that wasn’t enough, Jordan recently completed the CCIE routing and switching certification ensuring his diminished relevance in networking for the foreseeable future.

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