SD-WAN: What A Difference A Year Makes

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SD-WAN is taking off.

A year ago we announced 100 paying, deployed EdgeConnect SD-WAN customers. Earlier this month, we announced our 400th customer deployment, representing a quadrupling of our SD-WAN customer base in just 12 months.

We are seeing our Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution deployed globally, across a wide range of industries including financial services, healthcare, retail, manufacturing and transport. Our customers are simplifying and consolidating their WAN edge infrastructure, reducing operating costs and delivering an improved IT experience to their distributed workforce.


In the 20 months since we launched EdgeConnect, we have learned a great deal from our customers.

We’ve found most prospects and customers realize that a pure-play SD-WAN product is not going to address the full breadth of their requirements for the WAN edge. Enterprises want the benefits of lower operational costs and greater agility that are promised with SD-WAN, but they don’t want to compromise on performance or security. They are looking to simplify and consolidate edge functionality. On the other hand, they also recognize that SD-WAN is not a simple feature that you simply add-on to a legacy router. A conglomeration of acquired technologies may deliver in terms of check boxes in a paper-based evaluation, but in practice these ‘franken-boxes’ won’t deliver on the savings and simplicity promises of SD-WAN.


At Silver Peak, we have carefully designed our EdgeConnect solution with an SD-WAN fabric as a foundation for a new, router-less WAN edge architecture. We’ve invested heavily in developing and delivering technologies that meet application SLAs over any combination of transport networks, even consumer-grade internet, and pioneered a new consumption model for WAN optimization with our Unity Boost subscription. When we looked at the requirements enterprises have for SaaS optimization and granular internet breakout, we realized that traditional DPI-based application classification was not going to be sufficient. In response, Silver Peak has developed and launched a new application classification approach called First-packet IQ, which leverages machine learning and takes us one step closer to the Self-Driving WAN.

We’ve also heard from customers that they want to be able to segment their branch traffic, and apply different security policies to each segment. For some traffic segments, the EdgeConnect built-in firewall is appropriate. For other segments a cloud firewall like Zscaler is the best approach. And for some specific segments of traffic, our customers want to draw on the deep security stacks of Silver Peak partners like Palo Alto NetworksFortinet and Check Point Software. To enable this, we’ve complemented our business intent overlays in Unity Orchestrator with granular internet breakout policies, enabling consistent, automated application of segmented security policies across the distributed enterprise, leveraging any combination of security services the customer deems appropriate.

Finally, we’ve learned that our customers want the flexibility to deploy an SD-WAN at their own pace. Some customers are going all-in with a complete transition to a thin, router-less branch architecture replacing legacy routers all together. Some are looking at a more gradual brown field implementation, where they deploy EdgeConnect in line with existing infrastructure. Some are upgrading all sites at once. And some are rolling out a pilot first, with incremental adds over time. In response to these varied requirements, we’ve added, among other things, new BGP routing interoperability to support smooth migrations from a traditional routed WAN edge to an EdgeConnect SD-WAN.


I’m proud of what the team here at Silver Peak has accomplished. We’ve successfully deployed hundreds of customers, across a range industries with different rollout strategies. We’ve applied our learnings and used them to continually innovate to improve our solution. The Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution is truly unique – it’s the only comprehensive SD-WAN solution designed from the ground up, to not only deliver on the core promises of an SD-WAN, but to also address the broader performance and security requirements of the new WAN edge. In the next 12 months, I’m looking forward to surpassing our 1,000th customer deployment, and with further innovation, delivering even more value to our EdgeConnect customers.


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