SD-WAN vendor Silver Peak deepens its relationship with Microsoft's cloud services

To enable cloud-first enterprises deliver IT operations to branch offices, Silver Peak announced on Monday it has expanded its product integration across Microsoft's cloud services.

IT organizations are now able to automate direct branch connectivity across Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure deployments using Silver Peak's Unity Orchestrator and its Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN platform.

Organizations of all stripes are migrating their services, workloads and applications to the cloud. By pushing traffic to the nearest endpoint, the round trip latency for using the full suite of Office 365 applications is lowered while the level of performance improves.

VMware/VeloCloud and Microsoft's Azure's announced an SD-WAN partnership last year, while Versa Networks announced it was partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer SD-WAN to AWS partners. Aryaka, FatPipe, Citrix and Riverbed have also announced availability of their SD-WAN offerings on Microsoft Azure and AWS.

"As SD-WAN adoption continues to grow, we are seeing the next phase of integration activity among vendors," said Frost & Sullivan's Roopa Honnachari, industry director, information and communications technologies, in an email to FierceTelecom. "While interoperability was the key word in the early stages, integration is the keyword now in the growth phase. SD-WAN integration with cloud and security are huge areas of focus.

"In this case, integration with Azure virtual WAN for Office 365 offers superior performance while users connect to office 365. Similarly, as businesses take a cloud-first approach, leading SD-WAN vendors are working on automating connectivity to other leading cloud-based enterprise applications, and integrating security natively, to offer secure SD-WAN solutions."

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To help enterprises deliver Office 365 applications to their employees, Microsoft has defined a set of connectivity best practices for connecting branch office users over the internet to the closest Office 365 service front door. The Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform is now fully integrated with Office 365 IP address and URL web services, providing default support for Microsoft connectivity best practices.

The expanded integration extends the capabilities for Silver Peak's First-packet iQ application classification and local DNS resolution for Office 365 endpoints. All of which enables EdgeConnect to identify and classify Office 365 application traffic on the first packet and then automatically direct it to the nearest Office 365 endpoint.

The Azure Virtual WAN service provides an API-driven software-defined paradigm that enables Unity Orchestrator to perform per-branch geolocation of the closest Azure hub, and then automatically establish, monitor and maintain IPsec tunnels from each branch location into Azure.

Using the Silver Peak cloud API, network administrators can now establish and automate integration workflows within Unity Orchestrator, enabling joint customers to build optimized network access to workloads and resources hosted in Azure VNETs, which allows them to tap into the performance advantages Microsoft's global backbone network.

EdgeConnect instances can be run in any Azure VNET, according to Fraser Street, vice president of technical alliances for Silver Peak. Silver Peak and Microsoft had an existing partnership prior to Monday's announcement.

"Silver Peak has been directly supporting Azure with EdgeConnect in the Azure Marketplace for approaching 4 years," Street said in an email to FierceTelecom. "We have many customers using and deploying EdgeConnect in Azure, all pre-dating the Azure Virtual WAN announcement.

"Microsoft has been working to actually deploy the Office 365 service using much of its cloud/Azure infrastructure and technology as the foundation. As they evolve Office 365 in that direction, it creates opportunities and requirements for edge systems like SD-WAN’s to connect to Office 365 in certain ways – at least if they want to ensure the best possible user experience.  Silver Peak aligns with these requirements from Office 365."

Street said that while Silver Peak doesn't have a formal corporate partnership with Alibaba, he was " pretty sure EdgeConnect would run in their cloud with little or any effort."

"We have customers who have run EdgeConnect in IBM SoftLayer, although we don’t have a formal corporate relationship with SoftLayer," Street said. "The way we support public cloud services like Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Project makes it easy for our customers to use those clouds as the on-ramp to access major public SaaS services like Salesforce without Silver Peak having a defined corporate relationship with Salesforce.  Also, our First-packet IQ pulls information from SaaS services like Salesforce to enable EdgeConnect to optimize customer connectivity to those services."

RELATED: Driven by router replacements, SD-WAN revenue surges by 23% in Q2 - report

In IHS Markit's second quarter SD-WAN report, Fortinet took over the fourth spot in SD-WAN revenue by displacing Silver Peak while VMware/VeloCloud, Cisco/Viptela and Aryaka held down the top three spots.