WAN Orchestration - Extending Beyond Basic Network Configuration

First step in network automation is WAN orchestrationThe first step in network automation is WAN Orchestration. WAN Orchestration refers to the dynamic management of WAN resources to accomplish easy configuration and on-going resource management. Some uses of the term “orchestration”, especially in the SDN (Software-Defined Networking) space, have been limited to the first part of the meaning, i.e. just the configuration. However, WAN Orchestration takes that one step further and adds the orchestration of the WAN resources beyond the configuration stage.

Wide Area Networks are living and breathing entities and cannot be treated as static elements that can be configured initially and then not managed. The WAN resources of a business office can have many performance variations that stem from the changing transport conditions and/or the cross traffic on the IP path that the transport is sharing in the Internet. Of course, thinking in terms of extremes, the WAN variations can be as drastic as a complete disconnect (or a virtual IP black hole), or it can be more subtle like increased jitter. But sometimes those subtle variations are the ones that need to be orchestrated the most to avoid performance degradation.

WAN Orchestration, as more completely defined, is where WAN configuration, WAN management, WAN Virtualization, WAN Bonding, and various other WAN functions are intelligently and automatically conducted by the WAN Orchestrator.

WAN Orchestration opens up the possibility of combining various types and numerous IP connections, since they can be intelligently managed by the WAN Orchestrator to act like a single,  smart IP tunnel. This tunnel has the ability to recover from losses and outages and to adapt to changing channel conditions on the WAN links so that resources can be intelligently reallocated. Broadband Bonding, as an example, is one of the WAN Orchestration technologies that enables combining two or more ISP links for much faster Internet speed and redundancy. This means a single VPN session from a branch office to the HQ can leverage the total speed of all of the WAN links and have the resiliency of session keep-alive even during individual link outages.

The imminent end result of WAN Orchestration is that it paves the road to a much more cost-effective IP connectivity platform, as it is based on much more cost-effective links compared to a single high-speed IP connection. We all know what happened when hardware virtualization and storage virtualization technologies had a similar impact on their relative industries.

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.



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