With the advent of software defined architectures, including Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN), it is possible to “program” your WAN network remotely and to customize your office WAN. This customization would typically be as a function of your network requirements, application flows and many other factors, some of which might be unique to your network. Is it possible then to have a VNF (Virtual Network Function) WAN load balancer that can intelligently manage 2 or more Internet lines? If yes, how much programmability is possible to optimize your office WAN connectivity?
The short answer is “yes, you can have VNF WAN load balancers and you can program them to a great extent”. A good example is the Broadband Bonding SD-WAN routers where one can create overlay tunnels (similar to VPN) that can execute on various algorithms to optimize the network performance and up-time. Aggregating 2 or more WAN lines will create a fatter pipe and higher reliability, however, some additional logic is crucial to make sure the bonded tunnel works flawlessly.
As an example, for certain application flows, you may want your VNF WAN load balancer to optimize for responsiveness, i.e. latency, while for others, say large file transfers, you may want your VNF WAN load balancer to optimize for throughput. These simple yet powerful policies, either built-in or configurable by the user, will add intelligence to your network and will proactively work around networking problems and limitations without any user intervention. This means any otherwise urgent technical support issues can be either proactively and automatically resolved and/or converted into non-urgent support tickets. This is a huge help for IT managers as the VNF WAN load balancers empowers IT managers with the intelligence that is baked into the VNF.
VNFs that can work over WAN networks are becoming more popular, extending the benefits of SDN of the data center to the outside world and all the way to the enterprise branches.
Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.
Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.