VMware SD-WAN Review

Scalable, has DMPO to ensure data integrity, good technical support, and zero-touch set up

What is our primary use case?

The biggest benefit to SD-WAN is with VoIP. Any real-time data transfer where you cannot have any latency and packet delivery.

What VeloCloud provides is a solution that maintains data integrity. 

The biggest challenge for voice over IP telephone systems, are real-time and also video, and any kind of video conferencing. 

That type of thing, if there are any latencies, you're going to get trashy voice calls and also a lot of intermittent ghosting on conference calls. That's where VeloCloud comes in. They provide a resilient connectivity points system. 

Your connectivity is pretty much preserved.

How has it helped my organization?

A lot of companies are moving over to VoIP because they're cheaper. It's a cheaper telephony system than regular phone PBX systems. So, any major company is moving towards a hosted or internal VoIP solution. Again, the biggest challenge is point-to-point latency.

What is most valuable?

The biggest feature is called D.M.P.O., or Dynamic Multipath Optimization, which is one of the technologies that they use to deliver or ensure data integrity.

One of the things they've done is they've made it user-friendly. If you're a multi-national company and you've got company in France, England, United States, and also in the Southern hemisphere like Australia, and you've got a manufacturing plant, you can see how your plants are performing. You can see the kind of connectivity, as well as the resiliency between each manufacturing plant.

You know whether your internet provider is performing to their service level agreements.

What needs improvement?

The challenge right now is the customers understanding that it's a subscription-based service. The price is a sticker shock to clients because most clients are used to buying a product and not a subscription service. 

What VeloCloud requires is a combination of a subscription service, which is the cloud orchestration, and the devices, which can be purchased independently. Clients think that they can just buy the product for their endpoint usage and that's it. But, they don't realize they've got to pay for a monthly subscription because the technology that ties the two edge devices together is up in the cloud and you need to have that. That intelligence, you have to pay for monthly. 

It helps to understand this when people are using Microsoft 365, a subscription-based service. People except the fact that, oh if I need Word or Excel, I can buy it from Microsoft for a monthly subscription rate.

Services similar to that are now more and more being accepted. Whereas back a year ago, people were saying, "No, I just want to buy a hardware device." That's where the Cisco Meraki comes in. They don't really have much of a cloud orchestration solution. They have devices that provide SD-WAN solutions. You're dependent on each device to do their functionality, whereas VeloCloud puts it into the cloud.

It's not like you buy a router, install it, and you're good to go. It's the service, and what they call orchestration of maintaining data integrity, delivering point-to-point. 

If you're in China and you're trying to ascend data across the United States or whatever country you're in, you can imagine the path that it's going through from any world destination from the US. There's going to be thousands and thousands of hops, and by the time you get to your endpoint, any of those hops can introduce some sort of problem. High latency. 

With the SD-WAN solution, it determines the optimal path because they have gateways that help reduce the number of hops. If you didn't use VeloCloud and you wanted to set up a telephone call using VoIP from the United States, here in California, to China or wherever, your chances of having good, solid connectivity is going to be slim because you've got no protection. Whereas the SD-WAN VeloCloud solution provides number one, reducing the linkage between the two points and then it also provides some resiliency and ability to recover from data packet losses.

Depending on the clients and how critical the data is for them, it will determine how expensive the solution is. If you are a real estate office and you have ten offices, it may be too pricey for that type of industry, but if you're a manufacturer or a software developer, or a company that makes games, and you provide the gaming service, then the cost of the solution is not going to be a major concern.

If you are in the medical industry and you need to keep your hospitals connected and especially with COVID 19 and sharing of data, then the cost is not the biggest issue. It's really delivering resilient service.

They need to increase their gateways. When I staring with this solution, they only had 600 to 700. I say only, but that's a lot still, but they're now over 1000 gateways. It's like Elon Musk's new satellite service. Their Starlink. It's the same with Gateway. 

For Elon Musk to have to launch 2,400 satellites, and in order to provide satellite internet services and to provide just enough, when they're touting one to two-gigabit transfer rates, in order to do that, where it's ubiquitous, it doesn't matter whether you're out to sea or whether you're in the office, or you're by the shoreline in California, you have access to the internet.  

It performance is mediocre but as more and more satellites are added, the performance and the capabilities are that much more.

They need more gateways. It comes down to access; if for example, you have a gateway in LA, it probably covers San Diego and parts of Sacramento, but if you have two gateways it will cover more traffic that is in that area. The more gateways you have the more connectivity access for clients to use to get to the cloud.

Because of the buyout, it has to integrate with VMware's distribution channels, with their support channels. They have to basically GRAT the development of their solution, and fit right inside with VMware's. It's like Dell buying a small company, and then that small company needs to conform to Dell practices. Right now there, they're in flux.

Right now I have to manually manage the SD-WAN dashboard for the connectivity to the internet and routing from point-to-point.

The routing from point-to-point and all of that stuff are separate from the internal local area network. So, right now, software-defined WAN and software-defined LAN are two separate controlling systems. If they can integrate that, such that they are on one dashboard, I can see what's going on with my China manufacturing plant from the US and I can see from the China plant what devices are failing from the US then that would make it even better. So far, it's certainly a step in the right direction, but there's of course, like in time there's going to be continued improvements.

It provides a solution that all companies need and that's connectivity, resiliency.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been involved with VeloCloud for over a year.

They recently were purchased by VMware.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If I were to stand up a cloud service like Microsoft Office 365, I'm going to install it into a data center that can provide service anywhere in the world. I would have a server that's providing this service.

You can't put all your eggs in one installation location, you're going to have the same technology repeated in multiple data centers around the world. To provide that one service, you're going to have that service, and Office 365 virtualized so that you can run it up in Seattle and Redmond. Then you can add, you can run the same service in China, in Australia, and in the Southern hemisphere. All running the same software service so that if one drops out the other one picks up.

The resiliency is there for cloud-based services. That's why everything has gone cloud. Everybody's doing virtualization.

You can scale it such that, okay. You know, China's growing, they need their own data center that covers that whole market, maybe you need two or three and then you're done. Because virtualization is basically copying your server. You just take an image of your server's operating system and you just reinstall it on another server and you've got the same services on a different server.

Our client size varies from small to large enterprise companies.

It varies, but it can scale. The thing can provide scalability and I can solve a multinational company without actually having to fly to every location. I can just say, Hey, VMware VeloCloud, if you want resiliency, you want to connect your companies. We have Chinese manufacturing, food manufacturing companies in LA, Texas. They've got 13 locations and they're complaining about their phone services. The phone just keeps dropping out on them. I always said, well, you need a VeloCloud SD-WAN. So, it's now rolling it all out.

I deal primarily with the IT staff and obviously, it's helping them with the technology to sell the upper management with it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is really good, they are there to help out.

I would rate technical support an eight out of ten.

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

SD-WAN has been out for the last nine or ten years, but it really hasn't grabbed on until the last five years. As an IT engineer, I had to come up with my own solutions, such that if I'm standing up a data center and I've got 10 to 15 switches, and each of those switches needs to be managed and controlled, each one of those switches has its own management console, so I'm managing 10 different management consoles. Whereas with SD-WAN and SD-LAN, you have a central controller that manages multiple devices, you have software to find networking, a controller that controls multiple switches, multiple routers, that type of thing. So that's where SD software-defined networking has advanced the way you manage networking. You're not overloaded with having to deal with each individual device or appliance. You buy devices that conform to SD-WAN technology or SD-LAN technology, and SD-LAN by Ubiquity is the one I use there.

All of my switches, my routers, my access points, my cameras, security cameras, all of that is being handled by one software that manages them all. I can see at a glance, all of my devices, make modifications, see what's failing, see what needs to be replaced in the one in one software monitoring system.

How was the initial setup?

They have what they call a zero-touch setup. 

I can pre-configure the edge devices that get installed at the client site, and rather than me going in and installing it, I can pre-program it and set it up to where I can shift the unit to their IT person, and they can plug it into their network and they're up and running and have connectivity.

What other advice do I have?

It's an SD-WAN solution and they've got edge devices of different sources and types. Depending on the client's needs, you pretty much choose the type of product that's required. The end result is cloud-based. It's a cloud-based software-defined wide area networking affiliation.

VeloCloud is in the cloud. They have over a thousand gateways to get to their services in the cloud. 

They're tied into Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and also AWS services. If you're going to do a cloud design, what you likely want to do is have an SD-WAN solution like VeloCloud, such that if you're dealing with multiple people or multiple businesses with multiple locations, what you'll do is utilize their cloud-based solutions and edge devices to connect to clients' network nodes. There are different offices and provide resilient connectivity.

They have to understand the solution. A lot of IT technologists don't have a full grasp of the software-defined networking SD-WAN, SD-LAN.

Until technologists understand that, businesses won't understand because the businesses rely on their IT staff to stay in touch with the latest and greatest technologies that can save the operational costs.

We haven't reached the crest of the wave yet for all of us, even VeloCloud. They're just not quite at the crest yet, but soon everybody will understand. Oh, I know what SD-WAN is, I know it's going to save me money. I know it's going to allow me to reduce my IT staff because they're not having to be encumbered by the way the legacy management solutions were back then. That's all dashboard monitorization.

I would rate VeloCloud a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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