Branch networking is going rapid changes driven by cloud computing and SaaS (Software as a Service) applications. In fact, the flooding uses of mobile devices and Apps have become the driving force for the change of branch LAN and WAN infrastructures. Thus, IT management has turned their attention to Software-Defined Branch (SD-Branch).

Actually, many of the leading SD-WAN solution vendors have rolled out SD-Branch products in recent years, and the reasons are spontaneous in the nature of this business.

Trends from SD-WAN to SD-Branch

First, SD-Branch is unquestionably the next level of SD-WAN. In recent years, the deployments of SD-WAN have grown like an epidemic. By virtualizing all the hardware components of the network infrastructure, SD-WAN consolidates the necessary functions, including networking, security and connectivity into a software-defined WAN architecture. This eliminates the needs of various proprietary or dedicated equipments, and instead, all functions, or technically speaking, VNFs (Virtualized Network Functions) are consolidated in a vCPE or uCPE. Therefore, it is natural that SD-WAN is tuned and tailored into a branch office setting by adding some policy-based and automated features.

Secondly, in a real-life working model, SD-Branch can be even more versatile than SD-WAN. In most of the SD-WAN deployments today, the implementation mainly manages the connectivity for staff to connect to the enterprise network either from office computers or their mobile devices, which is commonly seen in some BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environments. But SD-Branch can do more. It is no doubt that IT management will not miss the opportunity to take the advantages of SD-WAN to software-define all the service chains that could be applicable in a branch office, such as security and VPN.

Lastly, by software-defining all the possible service chains in a branch office, SD-Branch can save a tremendous amount of CAPEX and OPEX as this architecture eliminates the need to purchase more of proprietary and dedicated equipments.

Recommendation about SD-Branch Products

When selecting SD-Branch products, enterprise IT management must consider some major factors.

First, software-defined architecture relies on Intel x86 white box and pre-validation with major SD-WAN solution vendors. The reason is that uCPE/vCPE by Intel x86 provides an open platform, high-performance, and valid environment to run VNFs. Secondly, due to the open architecture, the Intel x86 based white box can be easily customized to shorten the time-to-market process.

For instance, 66% of the top 15 SD-WAN vendors have validated Lanners’ white-box vCPE/uCPE devices to establish end-to-end architectures due to cost effectiveness and recognized performance. Lanner’s vCPE/uCPE white-box hardware has been deployed in multiple SD-WAN landscapes, such as WAN-optimization, Managed SD-WAN services, SD-WAN startups, and cloud-based SD-WAN service providers. Lanner also offers customization services to meet varied landscape requirements.