SD-WAN aims to provide stable and reliable WAN connections using multiple links

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Software-defined WAN vendor VeloCloud is looking to solve a problem many enterprises have with network as a service offerings. Whereas NaaS offerings may not provide last-mile connectivity and can be expensive and challenging to manage, VeloCloud's cloud-based SD-WAN technology aims to provide greater control while also reducing costs.

Mike Wood, vice president of marketing at VeloCloud, told FierceEnterpriseCommunications that telco NaaS providers have the ability to provide middle and last mile connectivity, but he noted many other NaaS offerings still require the customer to source the last mile from another provider. And many of those last mile offerings come down to expensive MPLS links or unmanaged (and poorly performing) public Internet connections.

"The bottom line is that NaaS was invented for public, private and hybrid data centers, and the idea of connecting those together and also getting kind of an express fashion, like Microsoft has ExpressRoute," Wood said. "They really kind of provide a fast conduit between the cloud compute and other data centers, and then allow other end devices to connect into those."

Depending on the specific NaaS offering, it may enable connections from devices like laptops or it may be more robust and allow routers and switches to access the service. It uses a VPN connection, and that's incredibly useful, but Wood noted that what's missing is dedicated access points to devices and branch offices.

It's easy to position this as a NaaS versus SD-WAN discussion, but what VeloCloud and other SD-WAN vendors really provide is a way to get the most out of NaaS connections. Through the use of multiple routes (including MPLS and public Internet), the goal of SD-WAN is to use the best of both worlds to provide a more stable, reliable and better performing connection to cloud services, data centers and branch offices.

"For SD-WAN, it's all about starting with the enterprise and enterprise branch requirements. Zero touch deployment is the key to this," Wood said. "The ability for branch offices to connect into an infrastructure requires very little to no assistance, the ability to insert cloud services, the ability to provide application performance and optimization performance over both private and public links, but also exclusively over the Internet in a secure, quality, available and reliable manner, SD-WAN is also all about driving consolidated monitoring, visibility, analytics and metrics across my enterprise."

Perhaps the biggest benefit of SD-WAN starts with its ability to use multiple links, including those of last mile NaaS providers.

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