Networking is transforming into a software application – SDN. The ScaleAOn network architecture solves private networking on the WAN with zero knowledge of legacy network protocols, and ensures no matter how large or complex your WAN, it is Always On.
SD-WAN – The Enterprise Board Walk to the Internet and Cloud
Data today is the new oil – sounds cliched? Well, look at the 26.66 Billion devices today – by 2025 the figure will mushroom to 75.44 billion- producing trillions of Gigabytes of Data. IDC predicts by 2020 Digital Data created will reach 44 zettabytes or 44 trillion gigabytes. Enterprise networks being the core of the digital transformation need your attention first. Next Generation capabilities like – Software Defined WAN – is required to ensure you don’t get stuck with legacy networks that creak as you scale in the digital world.
Enterprises were skeptical of using a lot of Internet bandwidth, due to the inherent security risks. But now, with SD-WAN, you can treat the Internet in your WAN, just like MPLS, a bandwidth circuit from place X to place Y. You can make the Internet work for you, without fear of breaches and risks.
With all applications moving to the cloud, what better time than now to bring the most powerful confluence of network technology and internet express ways to the doorstep of your enterprise wide area networks.
ScaleAOn – What’s in a name?
While looking at various different ways to build our next generation network product architecture, back in 2016, it became evident to us that there are two big challenges our solution is going to solve for our customers:
- Let them scale their business without worrying about their networks
- Make their network like electricity, flip a switch, it’s always on until you flip it off. Turn on our products, they are going to keep the network Always on.
Thus, was born the name – ScaleAOn, networking at Scale, Always ON.
It’s not just a name, it symbolises what we try and achieve with every line of software code, every circuit on the hardware, and every call that comes to our support centre. Make your network scale at will, and keep it always, always running. It is no wonder that one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies runs nationwide flash sales, involving billions of transactions on our SD-WAN platform, with a support team the size of your neighbourhood coffee shop staff. That’s how well this architecture works.
But isn’t this what BGP is supposed to do in the WAN?
Well, yes, and BGP does a great job even today to keep the Internet running. But the problems in networking are different today, our issues are not in calculating paths and metrics, an extra hop here or there matters less today. What matters today is only being congestion aware while routing traffic. The Internet or MPLS networks today face the same problem that rapid urbanisation poses to highway traffic in any of the new economies – India, China, Brazil, Africa. What is better these days when you navigate – Google Maps trying to help you avoid traffic with the fastest time to destination or your older on-board navigation maps which just try to find the shortest distance to your destination.
Reminds me of driving to San Francisco airport after a gruelling VOIP trial for one of our early customers, and the on-board rental car navigation told me happily the airport is just twenty minutes away. Of course I wasn’t happy when thirty minutes later, it did not look like I was making much progress. In frustration I swiped out my phone, and turned on Google Maps, and lo and behold, there was so much traffic ahead, it was going to take two hours to the airport. Swerving away from the freeway, I still made it on time, following navigation around traffic hotspots. Unfortunately, relying just on classical work horse protocols like BGP makes it hard to make WAN traffic responsive to the vagaries of Internet congestion.
But that’s just one part of it. The other part is that as your network becomes larger, more branch offices, more partner networks, more remote working the network protocol configuration complexity paralyses IT from wanting to change anything in their WAN. Ask anyone who is mixing more than one MPLS provider, because of the dreaded “last mile feasibility” issues with their primary provider. Which means even though you install more and more routers, increased your managed services contracts, the network only becomes more and more fragile. All this made us invent ScaleAOn – an alternative to classical protocol driven WAN solutions.
Beyond the Name
Building great networking software is hard. Picking a name was actually the easiest part. We waded through multiple technology alternatives and created what is now working so well, that customers don’t realise they even use our SD-WAN. Quiet, invisible, always on.
The fundamentals of ScaleAOn are:
- Network control plane communication over fast REST APIs, rather than out-of-date methods like protocol handshakes.
- A 100% SDN forwarding plane composed of loosely de-coupled tables, which can be re-programmed into any combination of access control lists, policies, route lookups, tunnel encapsulations, path selections, NFV service chains. Within milliseconds, the life of a packet can be changed to adapt to the network condition out on the WAN.
- An Intent driven configuration framework that does not need persistent old school transport connections like SSH, and therefore the control plane can fail over to the right WAN path even before it loses a single transaction.
- Zero errors in creating network segments, because of our visual aids in the user interface, which do not need a single line of actual network interface configuration while creating a VPN or WAN topology.
- A network naming scheme which produces logical identifiers for every single private subnet in your network, without having to remember the IP addresses ever again.
- Treat encryption as a security policy, instead of complex IPSEC IKE configuration methods on classical routers.
- Make encryption key generation so easy, that you don’t need to know anything about encryption to use it on your network
- Make it so hard for non-enterprise traffic to enter or exit through your Internet WAN, that intruders will give up and try other easier to breach solutions.
- Optimise the entire network path computation around the real problem, which is network congestion.
- Total de-coupling of packet I/O, network forwarding, application inspection, network services so that a failure in any of them only degrades the service, but does not cripple it to stop traffic.
The End of the Beginning
While the naysayers started writing off SD-WAN even before we were given a full shot at challenging the WAN status quo, we feel the early adopter phase of SD-WAN is complete. Every networking news site is full of SD-WAN stories, two massive acquisitions last year, the oldest networking company in the space with massive legacy installations, finally announcing that they are rolling out a software upgrade for SD-WAN to their routers. SD-WAN is here to stay. It will change the way we do networking forever. Just like virtualisation changed the way we use computing, SD-WAN will change the way networking performs for enterprises. We know that classical solutions have driven you to ignore, abandon, even hate your WAN. Try the Lavelle Networks’ ScaleAOn SD-WAN, we think it will make you love your WAN.