Offering High Quality Uninterrupted Application Delivery
“The WAN needs to provide secure and high performance connectivity from remote offices to data centers and clouds in a low cost manner,” remarks Ramachandran. “Today, CIOs spend up to 20 percent of the IT expenditure on their WAN, and typically 80 percent of that is for hardware refreshes, support and maintenance-just keeping the lights on. For most enterprises, that can run to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars up to millions per year. Imagine if that money went to driving innovation for the business instead?” he adds. That is, WAN implementations should address efficient delivery of the applications from remote user locations through multi-channel delivery options like Internet, MPLS, 4G/LTE to public clouds, SaaS, and virtualized data centers. Additionally, WANs should also adjust to any disturbances in the delivery channels to maintain the high quality and uninterrupted throughput. “For example, a customer, while accessing Microsoft Office 365, or a video conference should not experience screen freezes,” says Ramachandran. As broadband doesn’t offer quality guarantees, which may lead to situations like the above, CloudGenix SD-WAN analyzes the network to determine whether the delivery channel is capable of carrying out video traffic reliably. If not, the system will utilize other available channels as needed to offer uninterrupted delivery of media applications. “So our SD-WAN is a ‘cloud concierge’ to leverage private and public WAN resources at remote locations to optimize application delivery,” he adds. “Most companies only utilize less than half of the WAN they pay for; an SD-WAN with the ability to do real-time application monitoring and WAN selection can increase that to 95 percent plus, while improving the price/performance of WANs by 10X+ ”.
Securing the Network Edge against Cyber Attacks
In 2014, many of the attacks on retailers, healthcare, manufacturing and banks moved from the network core to the network edge - i.e. at the remote office, or store, or hospital, or bank. “The recent attacks in retail that leaked millions of credit cards, has definitely taught us some lessons - we need a new model for securing the edge of the network,” says Ramachandran. Hence, it becomes essential to slice and dice the network in a containerized manner while constantly changing security keys. “Networks secured by legacy VPN technologies are like hotels having the same key for thousands of rooms - a key that’s only changed once or twice a year. There is a huge security risk if this key is breached,” he adds. But with centralized network control abilities of SD-WAN, it’s like giving each person his own key. So, every site and application has a unique key, which automatically changes in the order of minutes. “Even in the unlikely event of breach, the exposure is extremely small and contained,” emphasizes Ramachandran.
With cloud and BYOD, CIOs are stretching WANs to incorporate bandwidth-intensive apps across various devices and platforms they run. Additionally, the rapidly evolving IT seeks a dynamic, business-defined policy that enables safe, quick provisioning of users and apps no matter where they are located. With CloudGenix’ SD-WAN solution, IT can manage the WAN as a virtual pool of resources and bind application and business policies dynamically to the network. At the same time, it reduces the need for remote office infrastructure. The solution consists of three major components, the Business Policy Abstraction - a business-intent based policy abstraction that allows IT to enforce security, performance and compliance policies in a location-independent manner; Secure Network Virtualization - Policy compliant virtualization of the network that eliminates the need to configure VPNs, routing, traffic isolation and other networking rules; and Network Function Projection - the Centralization of WAN services like Firewalls and Threat Prevention Systems, while “projecting” the benefits of these services for the remote office traffic. “We are tackling tough, unsolved problems at the intersection of networks, cloud, SDN, and application delivery to help our customers address their WAN needs,” states Ramachandran.
Helping a Retailer Realize Omni-Channel Initiatives
Retailers are increasingly embarking on Omni-channel initiatives to offer seamless consumer experience through all available shopping channels including mobile devices, computers, brick-and-mortar, television, radio, direct mail, catalog and so on. “Having previously built highly successful products in this space, we see a large, unmet customer need for a new category of remote office WAN infrastructure,” says Ramachandran. One of the CloudGenix’ customer, a sportswear store has opted for Omni-channel deployments across their numerous retail locations to offer media applications that can create customer loyalty. The initiative would have required a complex, time consuming, and money draining network upgrade across all their retail stores. The network edge security challenges added more risks and complexity to the whole process. The retailer approached CloudGenix to address these issues and help them set a successful multi-channel initiative. “The solution we offer is simple. Unlike legacy approaches involving lots of networking gear for routing, performance management, visibility and security, our cloud based approach to the WAN helps deliver the network using commodity off the shelf hardware,” states Ramachandran. The solution enhances the actively usable WAN bandwidth from 1Mbps to 300Mbps. “With our solution, customers at the store will experience an uninterrupted and immersive video experience, leading to greater sales,” he adds. The company’s SD-WAN takes the operational burden off networking teams so that they can spend much more time on driving business critical projects.
The Future Looks Bright for CloudGenix
“The company’s very name, ‘CloudGenix’ emphasizes what we stand for,” says Ramachandran. “The ‘Cloud’ represents the shift from hardware to software and virtualization, and ‘genix’ represents the generational shift driving a new kind of DNA for networking,” he adds. Going ahead, the company wants to transform the networking industry just the way the SDN transformed the data centers. “We believe CloudGenix has that kind of the opportunity and we see that customers are able to move from the hardware to completely software-defined network infrastructure, which can greatly simplify the WAN,” concludes Ramachandran.