Silver Peak is Serious about SD-WAN

Peter Welcher
Architect, Operations Technical Advisor

This is one of several blogs about the vendor presentations during Network Field Day 19, which took place November 7-9, 2018. This blog contains a summary of the vendor presentations and any related comments or opinions I might have (I’ll share at least some of them).

If this blog motivates you to greater interest in what the vendor had to say, you can find the cleaned up streaming video of their presentations at the Tech Field Day YouTube channel, specifically the NFD19 playlist, or by clicking on the vendor’s logo on the main #NFD19 web page (linked above).

Three NFD19 vendors presented about their SD-WAN products: Silver Peak, Riverbed, and Cisco. Clearly a hot topic!

About Silver Peak

From my perspective, Silver Peak made a well-timed move, shifting aggressively from the WAN appliance business into the SD-WAN business, while emphasizing application-centric routing.

Silver Peak emphasized that it has one unified SD-WAN offering, Unity EdgeConnect, which integrates into various security ecosystems. With physical or virtual SD-WAN devices, Silver Peak supports deployment at sites or in the cloud with management. The devices are controlled via the Unity Orchestrator. The Unity Boost option adds WAN optimization.

As with many / most SD-WAN products, EdgeConnect provides automated connectivity and routing, VPN tunnels, and QoS with the ability to specify desired application performance and preferred path with automated failover to an alternative path (if present). It also supports easy integration with cloud-based Internet Security solutions such as zScaler and segmentation of the WAN.

Silver Peak has made some mildly amusing videos with the theme, “stop getting routered”, emphasizing the automation, integration, and especially the ease of use of SD-WAN. Silver Peak also pushes the theme, “think outside the router”. Googling “Top ten reasons to think outside the router” will point you to blogs discussing the benefits of Silver Peak’s SD-WAN.

Silver Peak’s presentations indicated they do Forward Error Correction to provide high quality voice and video, and timestamps to correctly process out-of-order packets.

One key difference between the various SD-WAN products appears to be the failover mechanism. Silver Peak uses per-packet load balancing with failover. Well, any path selection product is going to leverage info about current conditions to decide how to forward each packet. I’ll note that any change of path could cause out-of-order packets for flows. Silver Peak says they deal with that, but in a sense, so does TCP retransmission.

To me, another key question is, how fast does the mechanism detect link outage (loss of packets, not down condition), and how fast does it detect brownouts, say 10% packet loss or badly high latency?

The article Dynamic Path Control on Silver Peak’s website provided some discussion, but not the above details. Yes, I probably should have asked about it while onsite, but I didn’t want to bog down the presentation.

Silver Peak’s last demo showed their Auto-RMA process. While one hopes to never have equipment failure, it certainly looks like Silver Peak made replacement rather easy.

Silver Peak said IP multicast support is in beta. IPv6 is “fully supported”, including IPv6-based WAN transport. This is key for regions where IPv4 is not available.


Comments are welcome, both in agreement or constructive disagreement about the above. I enjoy hearing from readers and carrying on deeper discussion via comments. Thanks in advance!


Hashtags: #CiscoChampion #TheNetCraftsmenWay #SilverPeak #NFD19 #SDWAN #EdgeConnect

Twitter: @pjwelcher

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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.