It’s become almost cliche to talk about how SD-WAN improves IT “agility”, but not for one IT manager at a security software company that asked to remain anonymous. He learned firsthand how much cloud-based SD-WAN services can improve IT agility — and turn you into an IT hero.
The company wanted to expand their development team and open a branch office in Europe. The IT manager was given five-weeks to make that happen. Meeting that deadline wasn’t going to be easy when three weeks alone were needed to get a connection in place.
The team began looking at alternative options. The Internet was the obvious choice. The company already had plenty of experience running IPsec virtual private networks (VPNs) across the Internet. The existing US and Asia-Pacific offices were already connected together by a mesh of IPsec tunnels between local firewall appliances. About 90 mobile users were configured with VPN clients to access those firewall appliances; There were 300 users in total accessing the company’s network.
Although a 200 Mbps/s Internet connection could be deployed quickly in the European office, performance was going to be a problem. Latency was far too long, and fluctuated too frequently. “The office required 100 percent uptime,” he says, “with the Internet, you can’t promise that. Your traffic still goes through several unknown ISPs. You can’t ensure that every hop is not a single point of failure.”
Deployment was also a challenge with Internet VPNs. For every branch, the team needed to configure tunnels to every other location. It was an arduous process, establishing the tunnels to each site, designing specific firewall rules for each tunnel, and factoring in user issues, such as whether or not to allow remote access. “It was about 1.5 hours of work per tunnel per site. We could spend a few days just configuring the VPN for a new location,” he says.
Read here how using an MPLS alternative and eliminating security appliances he was able to improve mobile workforce performance and reduce costs.