What is SD-WAN?

A chalk talk video with John Dickey, Talari Co-Founder & CTO

The right Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) can proactively manage network capacity, quality, and performance. Discover Talari’s definition of a smart SD-WAN including the architecture, centralised management capabilities, distributed client intelligence and most importantly—smart application and user-driven policies.

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Video Transcriptions:

There is a lot of talk about Software Defined WANs, but honestly, even more confusion. Many people have different perspectives and biases on what a SD-WAN is, and more importantly, what problems it actually solves.

A little background. Talari has been delivering SD-­‐WAN solutions since 2007.

We have hundreds of customers and many have been in production for over 5 years.

We are the innovator and proof-case for SD‐WANs.

Let’s look at some of the key requirements, from our perspective of what a SD‐WAN solution is.

Our list is rather long, so let’s simplify it.

We’ll start with drawing a SD-WAN network. In the center there is a SD‐WAN Controller with an Administration console which may be located at the enterprise or in the cloud data center.

Remote to the SD-WAN controller at the branch offices or maybe even the cloud, are the SD-WAN client nodes that are either physical or virtual machines.

Lastly, there are applications and end-users.

Now that we have shown you ‘what’ an SD-WAN looks like, let’s discuss what is needed to be a Smart SD-WAN.

First, it needs a centralized Smart SD-WAN controller and it needs to have an administrative console. Second, it requires distributed Smart SD-WAN clients. Third the SD WAN needs to be application and user driven.

Now let’s go a little deeper. First the SD-WAN controller must learn from the SD-WAN clients about their local networks and then the controller must teach the SD-WAN clients about the global network. Information that is shared and synchronized includes time, topology, policy, and software versions.

Peered with the controller should be a SD-WAN management element that provides assessment and analysis to the application’s network behaviors, for use in strategic decision making for the network.

Can you imagine trying to configure a complex hybrid network per hop using a command line interface? Neither can we, so a centralized high level management tool is necessary.

The solution needs to be seamlessly adaptive therefore it requires a high amount of constant synchronization to enable it to adjust rapidly to changes in the networks and the applications.

Second, the Software Defined WAN clients must be fully software programmable and require minimal effort to install, but at the same time they need to be very capable of thinking on their feet.

They must be able to utilize and assess multiple WANs simultaneously to create a hybrid of both public and private networks. Furthermore, they must provide real-time updates to each other of the current conditions of the network and applications.

Smart SD-WAN clients need to be able to assess latency, jitter, and loss for every packet as it travels the network in each direction—because round-trip data is not very useful in assessing applications behavior.

Lastly, SD‐WAN Clients must provide for first and last mile bandwidth reservation so as to prevent congestion.

Most importantly, it’s all about the applications and the users.

The SD‐WAN needs to direct application sessions to the most capable network for that traffic’s needs.

For example, voice traffic should be directed to the network with the lowest latency.

On the other hand, if a single applications session requires more bandwidth than a single network can provide, the application session should be able to utilize the entire capacity of all the aggregate networks without any out-of-order packets or end-user impacts.

That’s just a taste of the some of the ingredients required in a SMART SD-WAN Solution.
Contact Nuvola Distribution to find out how Talari’s SD-WAN solution will revolutionise your business.