Silver Peak SD-WAN. Routers Getting Routered – One of the Silver Peak’s Slogan for SD-WAN.
First, let’s have a look at the video below that the Slogan of “Routers Getting Routered” seems marketing, but actually it has a technical meaning behind it.
Video : Silver Peak Youtube Channel
I attended the last Network Field Day event , NFD19 and the hottest topic was SD-WAN. As you might know SD-WAN stands for Software Defined Wide Area Network .
SD-WAN as you might know, simplifies and provides many advantages to the Enterprises. These advantages, using Internet circuits for even mission critical applications at the branch sites by providing security between the branches, HQ, Datacenter and the Cloud.
Figure – Orhan Ergun at Silver Peak Building in San Jose
While I was in San Francisco for the Network Field Day event, many vendors presented their newest solutions. In the above picture, the building behind me was in San Jose I think, though, Silver Peak employees can correct me 🙂
Half of the vendors presented their SD-WAN solution. Cisco, Riverbed and Silver Peak joined the event with their SD-WAN solutions. Though Cisco presented their latest Wireless controller capabilities too.
During the event, other vendors presented their SD-WAN solutions which I will cover in the future posts , but in this post I want to write about Silver Peak specifically.
If you are evaluating SD-WAN vendors currently, hope this post will be helpful.
Gartner announced Silver Peak as one of the Leaders in their famous Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure 2018. SD-WAN is for WAN Edge Infrastructure. Why they don’t use the SD-WAN term, I don’t understand, but the truth is Silver Peak is one of the leaders in this space and their more than 1000 Enterprise customers deployed Silver Peak SD-WAN solution in production.
Their SD-WAN solution name is Unity which works based on two components:
Controller and the CPE.
Unity Orchestrator is their SD-WAN Controller, which does many functions through single pane of glass GUI and the Unity Edge Connect is their SD-WAN CPE which is the Edge device performing the data plane actions.
Classifying Applications at the network edge and sending the application on the right path is very important for the SD-WAN solution. For example, if the application is requiring strict, lowest latency, then application traffic is redirected to the path which satisfies this condition.
Voice, HD-Video and Video Conferencing type of traffic requires low latency/delay, jitter and packet loss. These are known applications but there are so many other applications as well which may needed to be classified by the SD-WAN device. Silver Peak auto-detects 10.000+ applications and as far as I know, they support the most number of auto-detect applications.
By the way, capabilities of the vendors might change very quickly, thus whatever I am writing in this post, should be considered at the time of this writing.
Silver Peak support both Per-Packet and Per-Flow Load Balancing. For those who don’t know the difference between the two, let me briefly explain, as these two concepts are not only important in SD-WAN terminology but also in general networking.
Sending the different flows of the same session over different network path is referred as Per-flow load balancing.
Inside the flow there are so many packets and sending different packets of the same flow is referred as Per-packet load balancing.
Per-packet load balancing can provide better bandwidth utilization when there are multiple paths but might create jitter problem.
Per-flow load balancing is used mostly to avoid jitter and CPU utilization problem. Normally with Per-packet load balancing, different packet belonging to same flow are sent over different circuits, if there is a congestion on one of the links, packet may arrive to the destination out of order. When this happens, the destination device needs to re-order the packet which might create CPU utilization issue.
When there is no congestion issue, per-packet provides more granularity and better link utilization.
Having both of the options in the SD-WAN device provides different choices for the customers, which mean Flexibility.
There are so many other criteria that we can talk about when we evaluate SD-WAN vendors.
From many aspects, Silver Peak is providing a very nice solution but of course they have some capabilities which they said during their presentation at NFD19, under road-map , such as different deployment modes of PIM Multicast Routing , which might be required for some Enterprises.
Last but not least, they have Zero Touch Provisioning support, which is crucial for the large scale SD-WAN solution. Leaders are there in the Gartner Magic Quadrant mainly due to below capabilities:
Dynamic Path Switching (Traffic Engineering per Application) , per-packet, per-flow load balancing , ZTP (Zero Touch Provisioning) and Automatically Detected Applications.
Silver Peak’s single pane of glass SD-WAN Controller (Unity Orchestrator) impressed me during their presentation. They don’t need multiple tools to provide statistics , advanced report , configuration and maintenance. We will see what other vendors are doing in the future posts.
I think Silver Peak with its Unity solution made a good job which I am sure will be deployed by many other Enterprises and Managed Services Providers.
By the way, I saw this Electric Vehicle Charger in front of their building and definitely wanted one for my car . Or I should say the one which I would like to buy 🙂 (BMW i8)