Fannie Mae’s journey to SD-WAN means less reliance on MPLS and VPNs

As mortgage lender Fannie Mae adopts SD-WAN, it’s realizing dramatic improvements in latency and network performance.

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About a year and a half ago, some Texas employees of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) were leaving work early to work at home over the enterprise VPN because it gave them better application performance and less congestion than the office network.

That’s also when the agency started moving toward a cloud-first environment and away from its legacy hub-and-spoke WAN.

“When we started this project the data center was still the center of the universe, where all traffic would be sent back through the data center, which was really inefficient,” said Ken Reddick, Director of Network Engineering at Fannie Mae. “What we are moving to is a cloud-edge environment where user traffic is now sent directly where it needs to go without hitting the data center, and what that has brought us is a four-fold increase in network performance and cut latency by 50%.”

The cloud-edge project is about 70% complete and involves replacing Cisco ISR/ASR-based hardware with Cisco’s SD-WAN powered by Viptela appliances and software to create an intelligent SD-WAN environment.  That system will ultimately tie together some 15,000 employees and partners in about 18 offices with Fannie Mae’s ever-growing AWS and Azure cloud resources. Key network hubs include two Equinix regional co-location facilities and Fannie Mae’s Washington, D.C., headquarters

Fannie Mae’s primary application is known as desktop underwriting, an automated approval system that calculates loan requirements. Together with its partners Fannie Mae’s mission is to provide homeowners, homebuyers and renters across the country with access to affordable financing opportunities.

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