In today’s bustling technological ecosystem, it behooves enterprises to adopt a vendor-agnostic software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) platform that can seamlessly integrate with a variety of digital tools. Companies are inundated with a plethora of cloud-based solutions in the market and don’t want to be tied down by vendor lock-in. A vendor-agnostic SD-WAN platform allows businesses to roam the market freely, enabling them to choose a software solution that works best for their specific needs.
An Agnostic Approach
For companies that want a best-of-breed SD-WAN, an agnostic platform is key. SD-WAN applies the principles of software-defined networking (SDN) to the wide area network (WAN) to connect multiple branch offices and is by design, an agnostic approach. VMware SD-WAN™ by VeloCloud® provides a scalable framework that allows enterprises to integrate their preferred security, cloud infrastructure and network management technology provided by a variety of vendors. It is not just vendor-agnostic, but also transport-agnostic, in that it functions as a network overlay that works with your existing infrastructure. The VMware SD-WAN Edge devices are located closer to the end user and are centrally managed through a single pane of glass. Leveraging the technology, enterprises can deliver a steady stream of cloud-based services to remote locations by effectively allocating bandwidth and reducing their dependency on expensive multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) links.
But what exactly does it mean for a platform to be vendor-agnostic? A platform is vendor-agnostic whenever its parts or interfaces are not tied to a specific manufacturer. Rather, different products can be incorporated into the platform, without any knowledge of the details of the system they are working with. This is made possible by compliance with widely-held industry standards that allow a product to operate in a myriad of environments, but also by providing a virtual network function (VNF) framework, software development toolkit (SDK) and application programming interfaces (APIs).
For example, for enterprises that want to secure direct internet access from their remote branches, with a vendor-agnostic SD-WAN, they are able to select the cloud security solution that best meets their needs. If the enterprise is not satisfied with the solution chosen, it is simple to move to another solution because the network platforms offers a versatile architecture and the necessary open interfaces to integrate security either from a different cloud security provider, security local at the branch or security at the data center with the ability to only backhaul critical apps.
Several service providers have partnered with SD-WAN vendors to make it easy to integrate their services into vendor-agnostic platforms. Some of the partners that are a part of the VMware SD-WAN technology ecosystem include AWS, IBM, Check Point, Dell EMC, Google, Intel, Zscaler, SevOne, Plixer, Okta, Azure, PingID and many others.
Benefits of Vendor-Agnostic SD-WAN
A vendor-agnostic SD-WAN offers a host of advantages for enterprises that want to embrace the platform without committing to a single vendor. Some of the benefits of a vendor-agnostic SD-WAN platform include:
- Unlimited options: A vendor-agnostic SD-WAN platform gives users access to a variety of suppliers that are relevant to their business needs. The solution also helps companies stay up-to-date and incorporate the latest technological innovations into their platform. Moreover, when seeking consultation from a cloud solution consultant, customers can rest assured they are receiving recommendations relevant to their interests instead of the vendor’s interests.
- Seamless integration and management: A vendor-agnostic platform that is set up to easily integrate with numerous vendors ensures a seamless management environment for admins and a better-quality experience for end users. Interoperability becomes a breeze with a scalable, extensible framework.
- Lower costs: Whenever companies are bound to a single manufacturer, they are limited to the number of products available irrespective of the price. As a result, enterprises end up spending more on a product than necessary. With a vendor-agnostic SD-WAN, customers are able to compare and contrast different products along with their respective prices. In many instances, customers can test-try the solution and receive a discount before making a purchase.
- Customizable software: Another drawback of vendor lock-in is that an off-the-shelf software solution provided by a single vendor is aimed at a mass-market instead of being tailored to fit a particular business’s requirements. While these commercial solutions may include an abundance of features, they are often saddled with many solutions customers don’t want. With a vendor-agnostic SD-WAN platform, users are able to select specific features they actually need. This allows companies to create customizable software that suits their business’s goals and fits in nicely with their overall strategy.
- Competitive edge: An additional benefit of a vendor-agnostic SD-WAN platform is it helps businesses differentiate themselves and outmatch their competitors in the market. Since customizable software is perfectly aligned with the goals of the business, enterprises with a vendor-agnostic SD-WAN platform have a competitive edge over companies with a generic software solution.
- Single point of contact: Businesses with a vendor-agnostic SD-WAN platform enjoy direct vendor support as well. Technology ecosystem partners of vendor-agnostic platforms like VMware SD-WAN serve as a single point of contact for customer reference. Instead of having to contact multiple vendors to install and configure multiple devices at disparate branch offices, the zero-touch provisioning capabilities enabled by SD-WAN allow users to achieve these tasks automatically.
You can learn more about how VMware SD-WAN is evolving its technology ecosystem to provide best-of-breed solutions during our presentation at VMware 2019. For details, click here.