Flying without a net(work)?

Today we saw yet again what happens in the real world when an overly complex network meets a highly fragmented network control plane. The details are still coming out, but already United Airlines has already identified the culprit: a faulty router. There are also reports that the router was operating in a degraded mode, likely unable to participate in the ever-increasing complex routing processes that require more and more expertise and prone to misconfiguration. Either way, the result is grounded planes, frustrated customers, loss of goodwill and surely a substantial loss of revenue by a leader in the airline industry. The lesson here is that, a single problematic router can dramatically adversely impact your business. Companies are too dependent on routers for forwarding traffic, their Achilles’ heel continues to be a fragmented, or decentralized, control plane.

Those of us in the networking world have all dealt with issues just like what happened to United today. It’s highly likely that one or more of you reading this are dealing with that issue as we speak. Whether it’s a router protocol misconfiguration or an incorrect access control list entry, the problem is that each router is a control plane island, connected to other control plane islands. Each one is limited in its visibility to one another and none have a view of the entire network, much less the applications that rely on them. But there is another way to configure, manage and monitor these complex networks: the Software-Defined Wide Area Network, or SD-WAN.

Software-Defined Wide Area Network

An SD-WAN is fundamentally different because the primary control plane functions are centralized, in unified control plane.  This eliminates the concept of the router as an independent island and enables you create an end-to-end secure fabric. This unified control plane understands the underlying link characteristics of the entire network and eliminates the need for complex routing protocols. Equally important, the network can begin to understand what applications need to operate well, not just how to shuttle packets back and forth. All of which leads to a more flexible, resilient and capable network that delivers, reducing the impact of a single misbehaving router. This is what a CloudGenix software-defined WAN offers today, a secure application driven network infrastructure that dramatically simplifies the WAN, reduces management overhead, network complexity and provides greater visibility without the need for more manpower, more tools or more configuration, and comes in at a lower cost.

If United’s problems today is another reminder that you need to make a change away from routing.. Give us a look to see what a Software-defined WAN can do for you.

Hector Salas
Principal Solutions Architect
twitter: hesalas00