NFV led to the current SD-WAN business boom; SD-Branch takes things an evolutionary step beyond.

4 Min Read
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The Managed Service Provider (MSP) mission of delivering a better network management experience, while increasing revenue and profits, is being made possible thanks to software-defined Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). It’s a fact that NFV led to the current SD-WAN business boom that is driving distributed businesses to replace expensive MPLS links. SD-Branch takes an evolutionary step beyond SD-WAN for the branch locations and aims to not only virtualize networking and security functions, but also to integrate various hardware options into a single on-premise device and management via a single pane of glass. SD-Branch solutions provide clear visibility and total control of the branch network.

The Benefits for the MSP and the Client

 Simplicity. Connecting the branch is just the first step, which can be done rather quickly and easily by non-technical staff (within hours instead of weeks). Plugging in a pre-configured multi-function edge appliance at the branch to a broadband connection is as straightforward as it can be.

Agility. The SD-WAN connection enables the MSP to perform other functions remotely without the need for a truck roll. Consequently, zero-touch provisioning of a single branch appliance becomes a time and money saver for both the MSP and the client.

Business Continuity. Network resiliency can be achieved in many ways, such as by bonding diverse carriers (DSL or cable) while meshing VPN links across the WAN, and then by enabling 4G LTE cellular failover that goes online automatically when the broadband connection fails.

Visibility and Control. Traffic segmentation, application performance and QoS is all managed remotely via a single pane of glass: a cloud-based orchestrator. By virtualizing network functions, control is achieved from anywhere at any time. You can manage a client’s SD-WAN network from a mobile phone these days.

Security. As communications are encrypted end-to-end, security is inherent. Access to cloud-based consoles is protected by two-factor authentication. Managing a next-gen firewall (NGFW), scheduling regular vulnerability scans and leveraging device logs for security information and event management (SIEM) becomes much more efficient thanks to the visibility and control offered by a single SD-Branch appliance that features deep packet inspection, traffic segmentation, content filtering, and many features that protect the perimeter of the network. Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) would be smart to add these network security capabilities to their cybersecurity services.

The Icing on The Cake

Cost-efficiencies for all parties.

  • The MSP increases revenue and profits by offering a more cost-efficient networking and security solution to distributed businesses.

  • The MSP enables highly distributed businesses to consolidate branch hardware and bills.

  • The MSP helps distributed businesses switch from MPLS to SD-WAN, which helps lower their operating expenses.

  • The MSP offers managed branch Wi-Fi, managed branch switches, managed branch firewalls, managed branch security incident and event management (SIEM), managed branch endpoint detection and response (EDR), and services that leverage the visibility and control offered by universal customer premise equipment (uCPE) and a services gateway.

  • The MSP offers an affordable, yet effective converged network operations center (NOC) and security operations center (SOC) as a service to businesses that usually can’t afford one.

From the technical perspective, SD-WAN is more than just a next-generation WAN:

  • SD-WAN delivers a WAN across any physical wired connection–or LTE, aggregating multiple network connections to look like one.

  • SD-WAN optimizes lower cost with higher bandwidth network links and provides reliable, secure connectivity between sites.

  • SD-WAN transforms low-quality internet links to business-class infrastructure.

  • SD-WAN enables controlled deployments with visibility and reporting into the branch and applications.

The Time Is Now

When asked by clients with highly distributed businesses for SD-WAN to replace expiring MPLS contracts, offer an SD-Branch solution instead. Share a vision of a simplified branch network architecture management, cost reductions, faster deployments, reduced truck rolls, and complete visibility and control of the branch network. Explain that it is possible to afford a converged SOC and NOC as a service thanks to advancements related to NFV. Show them how quick and easy it is to co-manage a branch network from a smartphone without the need for an app install. Offer business continuity in-a-box with cellular failover, Auto VPN, branch network security, EDR and compliance readiness services. What’s not to like about SD-Branch? The time is now.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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