SD-WAN: What We Do Now

As an old-hat IT pro turned SolarWinds product manager, I’m keenly interested in addressing your current and future SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) visibility solutions and automation needs. My team and I are actively working on doing a better job of addressing them. Several SolarWindsRegistered OrionRegistered Platform modules provide SD-WAN visibility now, namely Network Performance Monitor (NPM), NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA), and User Device Tracker (UDT).

Why You Should Care                               

Traditionally, we have used a variety of methods (dedicated circuits, DMVPN, MPLS, etc.) to provide WAN connectivity, and while they provide reliability and security, modern networks in a COVID-19 world require some rethinking. The growing need to support the remote worker has driven wider cloud and SaaS adoption in a predominantly on-prem world. At SolarWinds, we’ve been steering our products to support cloud infrastructure vendors like Azure and AWS through our cloud deployment options, and most recently with Network Performance Monitor 2020.2, which featured Azure VPN gateway visibility.

SD-WAN was designed precisely to address the types of challenges posed by a sudden rapid traffic pattern change (such as a WFH migration) and how it impacts the end-user.

What We Do Now: Network Performance Monitor

NPM is now on the Meraki marketplace, along with NTA, and offers API integration with the Meraki Dashboard (although this is currently limited to wireless support). Additionally, while preparing to build the SD-WAN integrations we’re working on, we tested NPM 2020.2 for native support of SD-WAN vEdge devices. Currently, we support SNMP polling of standard SolarWinds OIDs, including Interface Statistics from Cisco (Meraki/Viptela) and VMware (VeloCloud) vEdges, as well as Node Details for Cisco (Meraki/Viptela).

What We Do Now: NetFlow Traffic Analyzer

NTA is now on the Meraki marketplace, along with NPM. NTA (2020.2 or later) also consumes NetFlow records exported from the Meraki MX and Z-series SD-WAN vEdge devices. These flows come directly from the devices and are streamed to our collector.

What We Do Now: User Device Tracker

UDT (2020.2 or later) provides visibility of users and devices connected to Cisco Viptela vEdge devices. This security-centric use case was brought to us by a mutual customer, and our solution has received such positive feedback that we're working on similar support for Meraki and VeloCloud SD-WAN edges. This feature allows you to see what's connected to your SD-WAN edge, typically a remote enterprise security boundary that can be tricky to put eyes on. Cisco Viptela devices can be added to UDT through the Add Node wizard or Network Sonar Discovery.

Help Us Do Better Faster

Is your organization planning to implement SD-WAN soon? What are your current challenges when you are thinking about inter-office connectivity? As always, your feedback is an important driver to the schedule and design of SolarWinds software. Now is the perfect time to chat with us.

If you’d like to discuss your SD-WAN monitoring needs, please reach out to me at jason.carrier@solarwinds.com, or on social media—THWACKLinkedInTwitter.

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