The Silver Peak SD-WAN Edge Platform: It’s Way Better Than Fast Food

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In my most recent blog post, I talked about the difficulty SD-WAN vendors have in finding their voice and clearly differentiating their value. My point was that if Wendy’s, Burger King, and McDonald’s could figure out how to differentiate their burgers and fries, we should be able articulate why customers choose our solutions over the 60+ vendors competing for their business. I started out talking about the business reasons why companies select Silver Peak. Now it’s time to talk about our differentiation at a product level.

How is our SD-WAN edge platform, Unity EdgeConnect™, unique? I’ll frame the differentiation around what our customers are telling us. You’ll notice a significant emphasis on our ability to improve application performance for any type of application traversing any type of transport. We’re the only company that first tries to fix problems with the underlying network, allowing customers to fully leverage all of their circuits, even in instances of degraded performance. Unlike others, we don’t just re-route packets in the event of transport brownouts and blackouts.

What’s more, we tie application and network performance to our customer’s business priorities, not product and network limitations.

“I need to modernize my network, without sacrifice”

If you are responsible for managing your network, only Silver Peak allows you to retire your traditional branch routers, WAN optimizers, and perimeter firewalls with a single, unified platform designed from the ground up to work as one. We also support the most complete and flexible deployment options, enabling you to do it yourself, have it co-managed or fully managed through a global network of service provider partners, or leverage our authorized deployment partners. Our vision for the future of the WAN edge includes:

  • Moving beyond talk about automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to an SD-WAN
  • Users tell the network what should happen and then the solution uses AI and machine learning to make it happen, even while you’re sleeping

Today we offer self-driving capabilities to manage continuous change without manual intervention as an EdgeConnect-based WAN edge automatically adapts to: 

  • Changes in underlying WAN transport (latency, loss, jitter, MTU, bandwidth)
  • Changes in data center applications
  • Changes in SaaS applications
  • Changes in public cloud
  • Changes in the physical infrastructure

“I need total security and visibility across all applications and locations”

Silver Peak goes beyond service chaining with the most advanced cross-domain automation with security partners including ZscalerCheck Point, and Palo Alto Networks, uniting WAN and security transformation for the cloud. We believe enterprises are best served by not settling on either the networking or the security side of the new WAN edge. The combination of Silver Peak security capabilities and automation with best-in-class security partners includes:

  • The ability to extend micro-segmentation from the data center to the branch and cloud
  • Advanced segmentation of applications based on business intent
  • A platform for WAN and security transformation where it’s truly 1+1=3
  • A platform for future security functions designed by security specialists

“Application performance and reliability is critical to my business”

EdgeConnect delivers the highest quality of experience for end users and IT for all applications – cloud and legacy – based on business priorities or business intent. Specifically:

  • Application-based routing automatically identifies millions of applications, SaaS services, and domains on the first packet, allowing policies to be designed around the needs of users and applications
  • EdgeConnect virtualizes the underlying WAN transports building virtual networks that can provide improved application performance, better security, and granular segmentation
  • Path Conditioning, our patented engine for fixing underlying network issues, allows applications to utilize any network, even under extreme brownout conditions. Services such as voice, video, and other real-time traffic that have traditionally relied on private circuits can run on any network with Silver Peak
  • Our Unity Orchestrator™ management GUI is designed from the ground up by networking professionals to provide in-depth, real-time, and historical views of application and network performance, policies, etc. for easier diagnosis, management, and troubleshooting.

“Office 365 needs to work at the office as well as it does at home”

In addition to the performance improvements EdgeConnect brings to the underlying transport, it improves Office 365 application performance. Additionally, unique features include:

  • Silver Peak First-packet iQ application classification engine uses real-time machine learning to identify and classify Office 365 traffic on the first packet, dynamically steering it to the closest Office 365 entry point based on application-driven business and security policies
  • Office 365 REST API integration enables continuous updates to the ever-changing IP addresses and fully qualified domain names to ensure uninterrupted access at the branch 

“I can reliably run real-time voice and video across any network”

It’s one thing to say SD-WAN improves application performance by enabling customers to leverage broadband to connect users to cloud-hosted applications (and everyone does), but does that include real-time applications like voice, video, and unified communications? Only Silver Peak can improve the quality of every transport, even consumer broadband, resulting in uninterrupted, high-definition voice and video performance. If you’re in doubt, run a torture test with EdgeConnect. We did.

“I still have legacy applications that need to be optimized”

Beyond aggregating bandwidth for improved performance, only Silver Peak offers an optional WAN optimization software performance pack, Unity Boost™, to accelerate applications where and when needed in a single, unified solution.

Boost is an award-winning, proven WAN optimization solution that has been deployed in some of the largest, most complex networks in the world. It’s not a new feature we just added.

“I need a modern, cloud-ready network”

Silver Peak is the only SD-WAN vendor in the industry to partner with all four leading public cloud platform providers: AmazonGoogleMicrosoft, and Oracle. What’s more, we lead the industry in our ability to ruggedize broadband for the first-mile cloud connectivity from the branch to the cloud providers’ infrastructure. Additional capabilities to support a multi-cloud strategy include: 

  • We ensure QoS over broadband to provide fast and reliable connections to the cloud provider’s internet peering point
  • For hosted voice UCaaS or business-critical SaaS services, enterprises can dynamically steer that traffic to the cloud-hosted EdgeConnect instance for handoff to the cloud provider’s backbone and out to the internet, delivering the highest quality of experience for that select traffic across the first mile from branch sites to the cloud
  • Applications can be added, or policies can be changed, with simple drag-and-drop configurations within Orchestrator. Updates then happen automatically across the entire SD-WAN fabric without the need for manual intervention.

Deliciously Different, Have It Your Way, I’m Lovin It


To sum it all up, the Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform differentiates across four key pillars. No other vendor can differentiate across all four. It starts with being business-driven. We ensure that the priorities of the business are always reflected in the way the network behaves. We are committed at every level of our company to deliver the highest quality of experience for IT and end users. For the end user, we improve productivity by delivering consistent application performance and resiliency regardless of network conditions, while the IT team benefits from the ability to make changes easier, minimizing human errors and enabling faster troubleshooting. In an ever-changing cloud world, continuous adaptation is our calling card. We provide an adaptive, self-learning solution that automatically addresses changes without disruption. And finally, our unified platform was designed from the ground up as a single system, uniting advanced SD-WAN, firewall, segmentation, routing, WAN optimization, and application visibility and control in one platform.

If burgers and fries can be differentiated, I certainly think we can be too. And, we are.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.