Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect Review

Easy and manageable network solution

What is our primary use case?

I worked on some projects in Panama and Mexico. I did a large project in Mexico making equipment with at least 80 to 85 branches. We used Orchestrator and EdgeConnect Service Provider.

How has it helped my organization?

First and foremost, it enables the customer to deploy high availability connections. This kind of solution enables them to deploy these HA connections for policies mostly automatically. It's a more automated approach than with other vendors.

In the case of bandwidth, Silver Peak has a feature that enables the appliance to perform with one of the extensions. They have comparisons and notifications that enable the customer to contract fewer bandwidth links. It returns our investment because they have the ability to make a data link. They can push it. They can even eliminate their MPLS links, push it, and download more links, which makes it cheaper.

What is most valuable?

In terms of the most valuable features, I'd say it is Silver Peak's deployment. It's the main advantage. I think it is easy to understand and deploy their technology because they use a certain technical approach that they call overlays and underlays. With these two principles, they make use of the technological advantage of their platform.

They are also good in their routing feature. They have all the flavors. They work with other flavors for routing. I think they are good in this field.

What needs improvement?

I like this solution and I work well with it. But they have to implement more security with it. The security, mainly their firewall functions, have to be included in the firewall features.
They have to work on their integration with other vendors, like Versa does, integrating some little appliance inside of the boxes with a firewall feature. I think that they have to work the other way. It's not within their firewall feature.

The only thing I can point to is their lack of security integration.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, the solution is mostly stable. Once you deploy with Silver Peak, you mostly forget the customer because there are almost no support calls. The customer almost never reports any issues or problems once the program is deployed. It's stable and it's easy to manage.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

My impressions are that it's good, it's scalable. Most SD-WAN vendors have to be scalable because when they scale the data center the vendor has to have that ability. In this case, when you scale from three to four to five, seven, eight, 10 service provider connections, you have to deploy the solution in an automated way.

In this case, Silver Peak has some approaches. They have integration with other technologies like Cisco, VCCP, PDR, and VRRP. They use some protocols in order to fix the scale issue. This applies to all SD-WAN vendors. They all have the same issues when talking about the scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

They have very good technical support.

I know they are growing in the Latin American market but when I was working with them, they were lacking local support or at least the support that can manage cases in the region, taking into account that most customers have some problems the language.

In this case, Cisco has local support teams in the region, they have a good tech center in Costa Rica, and they have tech centers in South America, too. The same with Fortinet. Fortinet and Cisco are well-positioned here.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Silver Peak has a good approach to Cloud managed solutions. They do lack some integration in the security field because the EdgeConnect devices have invalid basic firewall features. But in this case, I understand Versa has a more integrated solution that includes security with the detection and so on.

I know that Fortinet and Cisco Meraki have firewalls integrated into their SD-WAN devices. I can say that Silver Peak is struggling with this feature. But in the SD-WAN feature itself, I think that Silver Peak is the easiest to use, to deploy, and to manage. There are only two basic components, including their Orchestrator, which is their brain, their main connection point.

Silver Peak's devices, compared to Cisco Meraki, are the most practical to use and deploy and have less interface. I work in two or three parameters with financial customers, mostly banks. They use Silver Peak for interconnecting their banks with the main location and integrating their many Service Provider links into one single box.

How was the initial setup?

It's easy to deploy and easy to manage. They have fewer elements than all the other vendors. They have only two elements, their dashboard, and their appliance.

As an example, with the last five last branches, it was implemented in two days.

What about the implementation team?

Implementation depends on a per-client basis. In Latin America, I can tell you that most networks have mixed topologies and they have mixed vendors in their network. They have mixed policies and no customer is able to talk to another. They have some misunderstandings between customers even in the same country. So when it comes to deploying SD-WAN policies in Latin America, they have to work hard in the design because this design will facilitate the deployment. In most SD-WAN projects, the bulk of the work is in the design part. The key is the design.

Because of this, I became involved with the designing. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Unity EdgeConnect is very simple. They have an appliance for all budgets and prices. I think that they are very competitive in their pricing. I compared their price with others and it was well-positioned.

They have very understandable price points. Their pricing is per manage group. If you want to deploy another specific solution, like cloud-managed, then you have to have some other licenses that you can apply which are also very understandable and simple.

Our clients do indeed see a return on their investment with Silver Peak.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I know all this from my searching among other vendors. Cisco is the most complex - they have many elements involved. Cisco Meraki is basically simple. It's super, but they have some features that they are working with right now. They have some limitations, too. I think Fortinet has some limitations, too, mostly in the way they work with the high availability and the packet server connections.

What other advice do I have?

My main advice regarding the SD-WAN product is to do research the customer's topology well. A good understanding of the customer's policies and the customer's implemented technologies, their topology, is important. It is important that they have a good design because the design is the key to success in this kind of space.

It is same when we were working with WAN optimization. You have to do good research before implementing a product. The key is still the same.

On a scale from one to ten, I would rate them at eight. 

What I learned from working with them was that their approach is to simplify the deployment and their overall solution. By eliminating many elements from the equation, you have a better understanding of the solution and then a better managed solution.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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