SDWAN like any other technology or product in the market is provided by different vendor in the market. All these vendors aim to provide WAN optimization, security including SASE, traffic and network segmentation, remote access and simple management and reporting tools in their solution in a bid to attract clients to adopt it.

The choice on which vendor to use will be a client’s reservation. Some of the factors that may be considered include but are not limited to the following:

The cost of acquiring the solution. Purchasing and maintaining the SDWAN deployed solution will be a great factor among consumers in the industry. This can be sometimes costly since the customer has to purchase the equipment, any licenses that may be required, pay experts to deploy and maintain their solution and also any other operational costs such as power and cooling.

Depending on the provided budget, a client will always want to go for a cheaper solution that can deliver their expected results and solve their challenges with the current traditional WAN.

Availability of tech skills to deploy and maintain the solution. A customer would always want to acquire a solution that their staff can be able to work with or one which they can easily get experts to help them in case of any challenges during operation.

This is why most vendors give clients an assurance of access to their TACs(Technical Assistance Centres ) in case of any challenges in their environment. Vendors also strive to provide training and proper documentation to engineers so that clients can have trust on the solution.

Another important factor is the openness and interoperability of the solution. A solution should strive to be easy to work with other solutions or equipment from other vendors. It should be integrable through open APIs and industry standards. This ensures that a client is not tied down to one specific vendor or even in other cases have to change their existing infrastructure in order to adopt the SDWAN solution. This can be costly and undesirable.

Some customers also consider the branding and reputation of the product and vendor they would like to go with. Established companies with a good rating will most likely have a preferential to the clients that emerging companies.

In this section, we will look at some of the available technology vendors of SDWAN in detail and what their solution comprises. This list is not exhaustive and is not in any order of superiority; we will only strive to look at some of the top providers.

Viptela:

Viptela is a SDWAN technology that was acquired by CISCO in a bid to maintain dominance in the industry and continue providing full scale solutions to its already existing customers in the enterprise and datacenter networks.

The CISCO Viptela SD-WAN provides application visibility, security, unified communication, and integration with multi cloud with a single pane of glass to view, manage, and deploy all your SDWAN environments.

The CISCO Viptela SD-WAN also adopts the fundamental design of any SD-WAN solution as shown in the figure below:

Figure 1:Cisco Viptela Architecture

The architecture consisted of vManage, VSmart controller, vBond Orchestrator and vEdge devices. The vMange is the management pane of the whole solution. This is where overview, policies, traffic analytics, deployment and other management functionalities can be done. The vMnage software runs at a central location in the server with visibility to the whole SD-WAN infrastructure.

Figure 2: Cisco vManage Dashboard showing the various functionalities.

The vSmart controller acts as the brain of the network by controlling the flow of data through policies, hence affecting the behavior of the network in general. It also helps the vBond orchestrator to authenticate devices into the network.

Some of its major functionalities are control plane connections, OMP(Overlay management protocol), authentication, key reflection , Netconf and CLI. The vSmart is a software that runs as a virtual machine on a server and to improve on availability, multiple can be deployed.

vBond Orchestrator coordinates the initial bring up of the controllers and the edge devices. It also acts as NAT traversal in case of where the devices are behind a NAT. Its main components are control plane connection, NAT traversal, and load balancing.

The vEdge are the devices responsible for sending traffic across the fabric. These routers can either be physical or software devices but contain the RIB(Routing Information Base) and FIB(Forwarding Information Base) responsible for packet forwarding.

Additionally, Viptela contains the vAnalytics  platform to offer better visibility into the network and application traffic.

References:

https://www.fortinet.com/products/sd-wan

https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/enterprise-networks/sd-wan/index.html

https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/s/article/cisco-sd-wan-introduction-part-1