This is the third in a four-part series. To view Part 1 and Part 2, click below.
Today’s blog focuses on the key SD-WAN benefits and functionality that is driving healthcare providers and IT staff to seek it as a solution to their networking problems.
The advancements in healthcare grow by leaps and bounds and without a strong infrastructure to enable the seamless, secure, and optimized delivery of those advancements throughout the organization, the ability to deliver quality care will be impacted.
SD-WAN has emerged as the technology that is changing the networking status quo for healthcare. It’s ability to deliver on the promise of faster, better, cheaper and more is causing healthcare providers and their IT staff to take notice. VMware NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud provides its SD-WAN solution to many healthcare organizations and its use cases, features, and functionality have proven to be an excellent fit.
While SD-WAN has a host of benefits and features that applicable for healthcare, let’s take a closer look at the four major ones that cause healthcare IT organizations to say “I gotta have that SD-WAN!”
Number One: Dynamic Multi-Path Optimization (DMPO)
DMPO aggregates all available links including broadband, LTE, and MPLS circuits and using application-aware per-packet link steering and on-demand remediation, achieves optimal performance under all conditions including brown-out or black-out scenarios. This ensures that healthcare data is accessible and transmittable at all times, including the accelerated transfer of radiological images (PACS, DICOM, etc.) and that sub-second failover maintains stable VDI sessions and real-time traffic for voice, video, and telehealth communications.
- Automated Bandwidth Discovery – During the deployment of an NSX SD-WAN Edge by VeloCloud, it will automatically detect WAN links, measuring both the up and down bandwidth to the nearest available NSX SD-WAN Gateway by VeloCloud or hub. Using continuous link monitoring at an interval of every 100 m/s, DMPO performs continues unidirectional measurement of link characteristics: latency, packet loss and jitter of every packet on every tunnel between any two DMPO endpoints.
- Dynamic Application-Aware Per Packet Steering – Based on the real-time link measurements and business policy configuration, DMPO can perform application-aware per packet steering in sub-second intervals during blackout and brownout conditions. Because NSX SD-WAN is a packet-based and not flow-based solution, it can steer packets mid-flow with no impact to the overall flow of traffic.
- Bandwidth Aggregation – DMPO performs per-packet load-balancing of packets belonging to a traffic flow across all available links to the destination. It takes into account the real-time WAN performance and automatically decides which paths should be used for the flow and then performs resequencing at the destination to ensure there is no out-of-order.
- On-Demand Remediation (Key Differentiator) – In a scenario where application-aware per packet steering in not possible (i.e single link or multiple links experiencing issues at the same time), DMPO will perform remediation for high priority traffic such as FEC, jitter buffering for RT application and TCP NACK for applications such as file transfer.
Number Two: Segmentation
Segmentation separates different types of network traffic from each other and prioritizes certain traffic over others. With NSX SD-WAN, segmentation includes the isolation of the control, data, and management planes, and plays a major role in the expansive growth of IoT devices. Using segmentation, healthcare organizations are able to ensure critical devices such as infusion equipment, pumps, blood pressure, and temperature measuring devices receive prioritized access to the WAN over less critical devices.
Number Three: Security
As mentioned in Part 2 of our healthcare blog series, security is a major pain point for healthcare organizations. Highly sensitive data must be protected at all costs and with the reliance on broadband links to connect non-primary offices, network solutions must account for this. With SD-WAN healthcare IT managers are able to apply network-wide business and security policies, insert local, third-party and cloud security services wherever and whenever they are needed, and extends the WAN perimeter. The Hosted Virtual Firewall on the NSX SD-WAN Edge for UTM and next-generation firewall capabilities can circumvent the need to send all Internet bound traffic and have either all or a sub-set of that traffic exit locally, made possible by NSX-SDWAN’s granular application recognition and business policy.
The VNF capabilities supported on the NSX SD-WAN Edge allows security service insertion in the branch. Complexity of VPN tunnels and PKI infrastructure management in traditional WAN architectures is dramatically simplified by leveraging the secure and scalable cloud-based SD-WAN PKI infrastructure, which can be turned on with a single click on the orchestrator. VPN tunnels are built where and when needed, and cover branch-to-branch, branch-to-data-center and any-location-to-cloud traffic patterns.
Number Four: Quality of Service (QoS)
Patients and doctors have a high expectation that all voice and video transmissions will be uninterrupted, so that care can be provided over any device at any time. This is critically important to those providing telehealth services as the inability to connect reliably can impact adherence to HIPAA regulations. Protecting VOIP traffic against effects of latency, packet loss, jitter and remediating when needed is all part of the NSX SD-WAN offering.
SD-WAN delivers significant value to healthcare organizations seeking to optimize, scale, and protect their network. It has become a game changer for those that have chosen to adopt it. To learn more about the solution and how it can help your organization, contact us.
Join us soon for the fourth blog in this series: Healthcare and SD-WAN Part 4: Mergers and Acquisitions.“