Business wide-area networks (WANs) have undergone a critical shift in the past decade with the onset of cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, low-cost yet high-speed, ubiquitous Internet connectivity, and the desire to digitally transform business.
CloudGenix is a recognized leader in the software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) market providing transformational benefits to businesses through its AppFabric platform, which enables businesses to embrace the cloud, reduce WAN cost while increasing performance, and reap new levels of automation and simplicity. CloudGenix was founded in 2013 in San Jose, CA and has a history that carries over 50 combined years of executive experience building products used in the world’s largest and most resilient, performant, and highly available networks. Backed by leading investment partners including Charles River Ventures, Mayfield, Intel Capital, ClearSky, and Bain Capital Ventures, CloudGenix has established itself as a force majeure in the SD-WAN space. Further, CloudGenix has been awarded the Global 100 and North America 100 award by Red Herring, named a Cool Vendor by Gartner, and named an SD-WAN Innovator by IDC in 2017.
CloudGenix’s core platform is called AppFabric, which is a software-defined WAN solution that enables businesses build a global WAN based on business policies for application performance, compliance, and security, across all sites and users. Unlike packet-centric solutions like routers and first-generation SD-WAN, AppFabric allows the definition of top-down global policies based on business intent rather than fragmented bottoms-up configuration based on the technical implementation of routing protocols, access lists, and esoteric networking rules. This stark contrast leads to a bridging of the chasm that exists between what the business needs, i.e. “Office 365 should have gold service across my WAN, and the implementation made by the IT organization. With CloudGenix, you can easily integrate heterogeneous WAN connections for any site, take advantage of cloud and SaaS applications, improve visibility for app performance and SLAs, and dramatically simplify network operations while improving performance and reducing cost” points Joel Christner, VP of Marketing, CloudGenix.
Legacy WAN architectures centered around connecting remote offices to campus locations and datacenters where applications are deployed, and commonly used private WAN transports including multiprotocol label switched (MPLS) connections. WAN configuration and management centered around networking features and rules demanded that highly-specialized skills be required to implement and maintain connectivity for remote offices to ensure productivity.
With cloud and transport diversity as the new normal, businesses have moved to software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) architectures in order to enjoy the myriad benefits provided: transport independence, application performance, intuitive top-down management, and reduced capital and operational costs. CloudGenix has upended the WAN market and the SD-WAN market with AppFabric by providing a platform that is truly application-centric, allowing alignment between the business and IT, along with levels of automation through machine learning that were not previously possible.
SD-WAN provides a number of benefits to businesses by enabling a fundamental shift from homogenous, discrete WAN connections and configuration, to an architecture where heterogeneous connections can be unified and aggregated to create a secure mesh amongst sites and a secure onramp to the cloud and Internet. With any SD-WAN solution, measurements are taken at various places in the network and over each of the available WAN links to determine which WAN path an application should use in order to provide the highest levels of availability and performance. CloudGenix AppFabric takes this to the next level by also measuring health and performance data points from the applications themselves, and coupled with machine-learning for enforcement, provides the best possible user experience.
For example, a business could introduce broadband as an additional means of connectivity in the remote office to add bandwidth capacity or to provide a faster path to the cloud or SaaS applications, and SD-WAN will automatically monitor these links and use them according to availability and performance. With AppFabric, the application metrics are also considered. This level of application understanding is also what allows the definition of the desired policy to align with the intent of the business.
While most SD-WAN solutions provide capabilities to address the benefits of WAN transport flexibility, traffic steering, high availability, improved performance and reduced remote office hardware and operational costs, others are limited in the value they can provide due to their packet or flow-centered architecture. Packets and flows provide practically no insight into the application, its performance, health, or behavior, meaning the functions of policy definition and enforcement are limited to link reachability, WAN performance, and basic traffic classification.
With AppFabric, businesses can define their WAN using policies for performance, security, and compliance built on applications, sites, and links, rather than using low-level networking rules and features.
“Having both a top-down understanding of applications along with the bottom-up understanding of packets, flows, and underlying networks allows CloudGenix to utilize a unique set of key performance and health indicators that other platforms simply aren’t able to use. This includes details and statistics about actual application transactions”, asserts Joel. “Being aware of applications themselves, flows, and packets allows CloudGenix AppFabric to provide a number of differentiators when compared with traditional SD-WAN solutions like top-down policies aligned with business intent, policy enforcement by application experience, and automation.”
With AppFabric, businesses are able to:
Adopt the cloud, SaaS, and UCaaS confidently
Integrate broadband internet to reduce cost and increase capacity
Unify WAN policy with the needs of the business
Gain actionable insights, and
Reduce cost across the board through automation
ESG Lab performed hands-on testing and evaluation of CloudGenix AppFabric SD-WAN using a test network located in San Jose, CA. The test bed simulated three remote offices, two data centers, and IaaS from AWS, geographically dispersed across the United States.