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SDWAN Vendor Series

Updated: Aug 2, 2019

Software defined wide area networks (SDWAN) is a game changer for organisations looking for new methods of connectivity to applications and services for their users.  There are a lot of players in the market and over my next few posts I intend to provide individual reviews of some key vendors.  Every organisation has varying requirements and, setting aside vendor preference, you should determine what you are trying to achieve and assess the vendors against your requirements.  For me, I included 5 areas as key considerations:  simplicity, visibility, performance, integration and security.

SDWAN provides the promise of cost reduction to WAN services.  These have geographical dependency, so I will not be reviewing WAN cost aspects (with one exception) but the promise is that typically expensive WAN services such as MPLS has a high cost to bandwidth ratio.  Internet connectivity is impacting  the cost to bandwidth potential and is also creating pressure on MPLS providers resulting in lower cost WAN services overall.  However, rather than just reviewing the cost of the transport, the architecture becomes a key decision to the network transport selection.  Architecture is key as organisations are utilising more SaaS and cloud based services and the traditional method of back-hauling traffic to a core location (data centre) to access services no longer meets user experience requirements. Enter the Internet as the main transport for organisational connectivity requirements to address SaaS and cloud connectivity issues, but this changes the security posture which is an important consideration when deciding on a vendors ability to provide SDWAN to your organisation.

All SDWAN vendors I have evaluated provide the base requirements around application visibility and the ability to steer traffic over different transport and network paths based on business policy. There are differences in the options and flexibility of the application steering and taking into consideration all transport options available to a SDWAN location.  

Another differentiation is the SDWAN vendors approach to security and the level of security the platform provides. Some vendors incorporate advanced security services as part of the SDWAN product, whilst others require extending the SDWAN platform to their own cloud based security services or 3rd party cloud based security services.  The vendors reviewed cover each of these scenarios for comparison.

I will initially provide information and assessment on 3 vendors and 4 SDWAN platforms.  Any vendor I haven’t covered who'd like me to evaluate their SDWAN platform then please send me your contact details.

 The vendors I will present, over my next few posts are:

  1. Cato Networks  

  2. Cisco (Viptela)

  3. VMware (VeloCloud) 

  4. Versa Networks

To kick off the SDWAN series I will present a Cato Networks solution.


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