Unpacking Cisco: the Viptela bloom

Shirlyne Ingolo

The world is going cloud. Probably not the first time you heard that statement. However, if it is, it will definitely not be the last. Cloud-enabled services have revolutionized how the telco industry delivers value to businesses. The onset of disruptive cloud-based technology has shifted the competitive landscape and completely changed how users interact with data and networks. The industry is finally tapping into a simpler, faster, and more secure WAN configuration that can withstand much higher bandwidths than traditional WAN models. User experience has also crept up on this not so user-friendly industry.

As global businesses rapidly adopt the use of software as a service (SaaS) applications in multiple clouds, telco moguls are realizing that their user application experience is very poor and underdeveloped. Traditional WAN networks are simply not designed for the sudden surge of WAN traffic that is brought about by cloud adoption. This increase in traffic causes complexity, unpredictable performance, and privacy issues. Cloud adoption makes it difficult for traditional WAN to ensure the security of sensitive company information and exposes the network to external threats. The amount of time and cost required to upgrade traditional systems in itself is a liability to our price-sensitive consumers. The old system no longer works in this new cloud-centric world.

New business models drive the need for a new network model. In response to this, a new kind of WAN was launched, not too long ago, to address the need for change. SD-WAN boasts an array of remedies for day-to-day network difficulties, with multi-cloud support. The International data corporation’s recent report poised the SD-WAN market to reach $5.25 Billion by 2023. This surge in demand is due to a shift in priorities from both telco providers and their clients. The telco providers have embraced the need for a more user-friendly network experience, whereas their clients beckon the secure, cost-cutting benefits offered by SD-WAN. There are different SD-WAN options to choose from in the market today, but there seems to be an increased focus on Cisco SD-WAN powered by Viptela.

Let’s take a closer look…

SD-WAN is a cloud-based solution that offers cutting edge network connectivity, management, and communication between multiple devices within a single network in multiple locations. It’s a new approach to network connectivity where administrators maximize the use of bandwidth and can help ensure optimum performance for all network applications without sacrificing security or privacy of data. It is also extremely cost-effective.

Viptela specifically offers an on-premise routing platform with a cloud-centric approach to control management. It differentiates itself as a software-based solution that is flexible and easy to deploy. It also offers on-premises application responsiveness with real-time analytics, visibility, and control. IDC research demonstrates that enterprises can realize significant benefits with regards to optimizing the cost and performance of wide-area networks by deploying Viptela. Okay, now we know that it’s efficient. So how does it work?

Viptela has simplified network management and segmented the command points into 4 simple layers:

Source: Viptela

  1. vSmart Controller — Templates are created here and auto-downloaded to every single device within the network. It’s the central controller/management of security, policy, routing, segmentation, and authentication of devices.
  2. vManage — It enables you to configure and manage your entire network from a centralized dashboard. If you have a device down, you’d be able to pinpoint which specific router it is, its location, as well as the device configuration causing the glitch.
  3. vEdge Routers — Full-featured IP routers that perform standard functions such as BGP, OSPF, ACLs, QoS, and various routing policies in addition to the overlay communication.
  4. vBond Orchestrator (software) — Initial authentication and authorization of all elements into the network; it provides information on how each of the components connects to other components.

The SD-WAN demand surge
Over the past 2 years, the demand for SD-WAN within the telecommunication industry has sky-rocketed, causing industry players to adjust their value proposition and include SD-WAN in their suite. So why the sudden need for this cloud-based solution?

  • Disjoint network: The challenge with traditional router-centric architecture is the hassle of a disjoint network. There is no proper or dedicated path from one link to another. It is difficult and quite costly to properly conduct the load balancing or safety load from one link to the other.
  • Security concerns: Traditional WAN exposes devices to the public domain due to the multiple transport channels used to traffic data. There is no consolidated security that protects the company networks and applications to cyber threats.
  • Rigidity: The old infrastructure for traditional WAN is not built to easily adopt cloud or cloud-based apps in the network. This limits the functionality of the network making it difficult to keep up with new-age trends and technical upgrades.
  • Fixed and insufficient bandwidth: Traditional WAN is not able to handle the level of network traffic that is currently demanded. There is also insufficient balancing from one link to another.
  • Lack of smart features: The devices initially linked to the traditional network do not have smart features. This makes it difficult for these devices to easily communicate with each other, creating a need for constant monitoring and intervention.
  • High costs: Space, cooling, cabling, and manpower are required to create space within the traditional WAN to accommodate numerous devices within the network. This is very expensive. Traffic engineering is also complex to conduct with disjoint network configurations.

Viptela Perks:
Viptela has been consistently transforming networking management. The adoption of this network solution has been rapidly increasing, and understandably so. It comes as a powerhouse promising to improve the efficiency of network operations for any global business. A few perks of introducing this solution to any network ecosystem:

  1. Security: Viptela secures tunnel connectivity within the transport network. It creates multiple transport channels ensuring the entire network is dependent on multiple, secure transport channels. It covers security on two fronts. The first level of security is from the centralized control plane into the data plane of each branch. This level is secured by DTLS security (branches to the controller). The second level of security comes from horizontal communication between branches. This communication is secured by the IPsec tunnel (Router to router). This means that the entire IP packet is encrypted and authenticated.
  2. Central policy: Viptela has integrated a hands-off approach throughout the entire network to streamline operations. It gives room to create templates into a centralized control plane. The control plane then downloads the information into each router’s data plane within the network.
  3. Zero-touch edge computing: Devices within the network are auto-configured with smart features which connect them to each framework. The central controller also auto-downloads policy configurations to each new device added onto the network. Now if that is not a genius adaptation of IoT in network connectivity, I don’t know what is.
  4. Reduced cost: Viptela is a cloud-based solution, so it typically reduces the cost related to traditional WAN and traffic engineering. Couple this with higher bandwidth capability, it forms a seamless transition for increased traffic and any new devices added to the network.
  5. WAN efficiency: Viptela uses bandwidth augmentation, internet offload, and app routing to increase aggregate WAN link utilization. The application is configured to take the best part that meets the service-level agreement (SLA).

Get in touch with us for more information on SD-WAN
IX Telecom leverages Cisco SD-WAN powered by Viptela. Developers can streamline workflows, deploy and manage devices and enhance application experience. The DevNet Sandboxes provide developers with zero-cost, easy access to infrastructure, and platforms to develop and run code against any time.

We know some customers want to maintain choice and flexibility, and sometimes end up owning infrastructure they did not choose. Through the adoption of industry standards and our own innovations around extensibility, our tools are designed with multi-vendor automation in mind. Our expert advisors can help you design and customize SD-WAN solutions that will have your business scaling to the cloud today and be ready for IoT tomorrow. Get in touch with an in-house expert today.