Overview of SD-WAN with NSX and VeloCloud
Companies who have many branch offices have often been tied down to expensive MPLS circuits to pass critical data back and forth. With many broadband technologies out there providing sufficient bandwidth and now becoming more stable, these companies have the ability to possibly create an environment that not only performs well, but also provides significate cost savings! What CFO doesn't like to hear those words?
SD-WAN virtualizes the network by using software and cloud-based technologies to simplify and optimize the delivery of WAN services between offices.
Benefits of SD-WAN include:
- Agility - SD-WAN gives customers the ability to quickly deploy WAN services to many branch/remote offices without the need to roll a truck or send an engineer onsite.
- Cost Savings - Companies can now utilize internet connectivity options like cable, DSL and Ethernet offerings, instead of costly MPLS circuits.
- Optimization of the cloud - By utilizing technologies that can steer traffic based on application, SD-WAN can intelligently direct traffic over the best link(s) to enhance the end user experience.
- Simplification of WAN management - Uses zero-touch branch deployment, and centralized management via the Orchestrator UI interface.
Now let's talk about NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud and who the target audience is. NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud targets customers in every vertical market with an initial focus on retail, manufacturing, healthcare and services. With a teaming effort between VMware and VeloCloud (now owned by VMware), customers can take advantage of the first solution to provide all three elements needed to achieve a true enterprise-grade SD-WAN solution. Those three elements area network connection to cloud and enterprise applications, Software-defined control, and automation of virtual services delivery. VMware NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud is also the only SD-WAN solution that supports data plane services in the cloud, as well as on-premise deployments.
Management of NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud
Management of NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud is done through the NSX-SD WAN Orchestrator. This provides centralized management for configuration, monitoring, testing and troubleshooting. We also have the ability to provision network-wide business policy, enable service insertion, perform real-time monitoring and analyze application performance.
The VeloCloud Orchestrator allows you to gain quick insights into how traffic is actually being handled, and also gives detailed metrics that can be used to further fine-tune the environment certain business needs.
Let's take a quick look at the Orchestrator and some of the basic functions we can manage. Below in Figure 1, we see we have multiple sites located across the US. On the left side of the screen, we have four main "drawers" that include Monitor, Configure, Test & Troubleshoot and Administration. As you can see at this point, everything is nicely laid out and intuitive.
In Figure 1 above, we see there are five locations, with four of those locations being branch sites and one being a data center. We also get a quick indication of the status of those sites, indicated by the green ball in the status column. If we wanted to drill down into a specific site to see detailed information, we just click on the site (in this case, the DC1 Hub Site). After that, we should be directed to the site page as shown below in Figure 2.
In Figure 2, we can see information such as the number and types of WAN links this site is using, the status of the VPN, throughput and live bandwidth usage. Across the top of this page, we can drill down into metrics, such as QoE (Quality of Experience), to see how VeloCloud is enhancing the experience for traffic such as voice, video or other traffic types.
As shown in Figure 3 below, we have the ability to test and troubleshoot remote locations directly from the Orchestrator UI. This includes running remote diagnostics, running remote actions such as reboot, shutdown, hard reset to factory defaults, force the save of a memory dump or identify.
To assist in troubleshooting, we can run remote packet captures as shown in Figure 4. This gives the ability to quickly verify/troubleshoot in Wireshark.
As you can see, this is a very basic demo of the VeloCloud Orchestrator. There are many other options that can be configured and fine-tuned to meet the needs of individual business needs and expectations.