SD-WAN Doesn’t Have to be Scary (Halloween Special Edition)

SD-WAN Doesn’t Have to be Scary
Terrifying things are crawling around our porches this time of the year! And network managers have been receiving some scary news about SD-WAN as of late, ranging from the complexity of deployments to trusted vendors telling them they have to retrain all their top certified network engineers in order to successfully tackle SD-WAN. So, let’s take a look at the SD-WAN tricksters you should beware of:

A very tricky one is a shape shifter: it seems to be one thing but then turns into something altogether different. The shape shifter will smooth its way into your front door claiming that its SD-WAN approach is characterized by agility, ease-of-use and seamless automation and management. Such sweet, seductive words, promising relief from the static nature, the complexity, and the combined CAPEX/OPEX of traditional WAN network technology. Who could resist? But beware! The shape shifter is the exact same trickster that got you that traditional network gear to begin with; it’s just pretending to be something else temporarily. Once the shape shifter is in your house, the terror begins: the configuration policies are nowhere as intuitive and simple as promised and your network experts are perplexed by the new riddles the new network technology presents them with. Your pilot sites take months to deploy and budget overruns make it hard to deliver on the expected business results. Alas, it’s now too late to escape the trap the shape shifter set for you, it owns your soul now – or so it will try to make you believe.

Next up is the Leprechaun. We’ve all seen the movies. A Leprechaun may seem funny and engaging at first, but invariably things take a sinister turn. Ultimately, they only care about their gold, and beware of those 3 wishes they grant you, because they’ll turn against you and will somehow further add to the Leprechaun’s treasure. The SD-WAN Leprechauns will manipulate you into, first of all, continuing to buy the expensive MPLS service you were trying to free yourself from. The Leprechaun will tell you that even with SD-WAN, there is no other way your business-critical applications will deliver on global enterprise class performance and user experience. Your second wish will be to replace your legacy branch routers with new SD-WAN-enabled branch routers that somehow still manage to provide proprietary value-add and hence command premium pricing. They’ll probably need to be fork-lifted every 2 processor generations, too. Leprechauns prefer up-front payment with a CAPEX model – more gold for the Leprechaun treasure chest. And your third wish? The Leprechaun will get you to procure expensive advanced services, because -see?- only that way you’ll be truly able to draw the long-term cost benefits of owning an SD-WAN solution. The Leprechaun also fully agrees with the shape-shifter when it comes to re-train your networks experts to truly make sure you’re ready for the world of the simple, intuitive and user-friendly SD-WAN of the future.

And as if the dark nights of Halloween weren’t scary enough, you may hear big, ambling footsteps shake the ground and an earth-shattering roar from your front door! Is it a werewolf? No, because I should have used the werewolf for the shape-shifter paragraph and now it’s too late since I am nearly 550 words into this blog. That huge, menacing creature on your doorstep now is a Cyclops. Now, being a mythological hobbyist myself, I am here to tell you that a Cyclops is not by nature destructive and evil. But if you have limited visibility and have problems such as random Greek heroes showing up trying to pick your one good eye out, you tend to overreact and develop an attitude. And no doubt that’s what’s happening in SD-WAN with many network managers that complain about limited visibility, and the difficulty of reconciling virtual overlay behavior with physical underlay issues when application performance issues arise. What is going on? Oh, now I have to buy a third-party network performance monitoring tool to be able to get visibility into overall network issues and more effectively troubleshoot? SD-WAN may turn you a bit cycloptic as a network manager by limiting your complete end-to-end visibility, so beware the Cyclops, too!

SD-WAN doesn’t need to be scary, though. As a network manager, you can do what your colleagues a few doors down in application architecture did a while ago: embrace Anything-as-a-Service delivery, including the network. Look at them right now – they are having a Halloween party just after they pushed out an application update to production via Kubernetes automation, while you are there trying to find out which policy or configuration causes a traffic type coming out of a site’s router to be marked with the wrong DSCP. Who did that, and when, anyhow? Solving ancient riddles can have scary outcomes; we’ve all seen those movies, too. Delete that weird ACL and unwittingly unleash demons set on obliterating humankind, right?

So as Aryaka, we’re here to offer you a treat this Halloween: we can deliver on the sweet, intent-based promise of SD-WAN. And we don’t shift shapes, our corporate color is teal (*not* Leprechaun green!), and we provide perfect and complete visibility free of cycloptic limitations. Sit back and treat yourself to an SD-WAN sweet – enjoy Halloween and Happy Holidays!

About the author

Paul Liesenberg
Paul is a Director in Aryaka’s Product Solutions Team. Paul has over 20 years of experience in product marketing, product management, sales engineering, business development and software engineering in Cisco, LiveAction, Bivio Networks and StrataCom. Paul enjoys scuba diving, motorcycles, open software projects and oil painting.