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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