ADVA Optical Networking has introduced its Ensemble SmartWAN platform. It has been specifically developed to enable the deployment and management of virtualized software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions without any of the limitations or drawbacks of appliance-based offerings.
Ensemble SmartWAN leverages Ensemble Connector and other elements of the ADVA Ensemble suite to provide the virtual infrastructure for hosting SD-WAN and other best-of-breed virtual network functions (VNFs).
This combination ensures enterprises are not locked in to closed monolithic appliances but rather can take advantage of the benefits of NFV in conjunction with their SD-WAN deployments. Ensemble SmartWAN is supported by a number of key partners, including Silver Peak and Versa Networks.
“Ensemble SmartWAN isn’t simply a piece of software; it’s a philosophy that embodies everything our team is about. It’s open; it’s neutral; it’s simple. Ultimately, it’s all about choice, ensuring our customers are not locked in to one technology,” said Prayson Pate, CTO, Ensemble Division, ADVA Optical Networking. “We’ve been watching the SD-WAN space for some time and recognize the value that SD-WAN brings to service providers and enterprises alike. However, we strongly believe that there are additional benefits that can be realized through the tight integration between NFV and SD-WAN. Our Ensemble SmartWAN transforms today’s SD-WAN from a stand-alone monolithic application to become part of a rich solution set that enables other VNFs to share all SD-WAN features. What we’ve developed here provides the marketplace with something of real value and clearly takes SD-WAN to a whole new level.”
Ensemble SmartWAN addresses a key gap in the marketplace. Current SD-WAN solutions enable enterprises to develop virtual private networks (VPNs) at more cost-effective price points than operator-managed MPLS VPNs.
However, they present enterprises with significant operational issues as the IT department is suddenly responsible for all network management. From a service provider’s perspective, today’s SD-WAN solutions are a potential threat to their managed VPN revenue streams. Ensemble SmartWAN addresses the concerns of each party.
With this technology, service providers can offer managed SD-WAN solutions in an automated and virtualized manner while retaining the ability to efficiently deploy additional value-added services on top of their base SD-WAN offerings. This approach enables enterprises to take advantage of the benefits of these virtualized, feature-rich services at a much lower cost.
“There can be no question that there’s a tremendous surge in demand for SD-WAN solutions at the moment. It presents enterprises with a compelling business case. But it’s important to understand what comes next and that’s where Ensemble SmartWAN comes in,” commented Nav Chander, senior director, service provider marketing, Silver Peak. “This is a platform that will help service providers evolve their managed services portfolio to offer virtual SD-WANs and best-of-breed VNFs from leading VNF suppliers, such as Silver Peak, and this is an enormous leap. We’ve worked closely with the ADVA Ensemble team to ensure that our EdgeConnect-SP SD-WAN solution can be introduced seamlessly with SmartWAN. The importance of this simplicity and ease of use cannot be overstated.”
Ensemble SmartWAN is an open, vendor-neutral platform that enhances SD-WAN solutions through its streamlined zero-touch provisioning and management features. These capabilities are another aspect that sets it apart from today’s SD-WAN solutions.
It uses NFV management and orchestration principles to ensure that service providers can integrate virtual SD-WANs into larger service offerings. Ensemble SmartWAN also supports overlay and underlay networks. Ensemble SmartWAN achieves this by interfacing directly with MPLS VPNs without requiring a CE router. What’s more, Ensemble SmartWAN can also provide the MPLS peering and tunnels of the CE router, eliminating the need for the router altogether.
“Our team is committed to developing truly open and software-based SD-WANs. That’s why we’re strong advocates of Ensemble SmartWAN,” noted Kumar Mehta, founder and CDO, Versa Networks. “What the Ensemble team is developing is a platform that will help service providers meet their business and end-customer needs, and align well with their long-term goals of delivering more high-value services. Ensemble SmartWAN and Versa software-based SD-WAN and SD-Security together enable that through a complete NFV-based solution for branch networking and security. The timing is right, as interest in virtual SD-WANs is growing rapidly and this will be an exciting space to watch.”