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Optimizing connectivity for AI, SaaS, and IaaS workloads

By Nav Chander, Senior Product Marketing Manager, SASE & SD-WAN

Having just returned from a hectic AWS re:Invent 2023, where generative AI was front and center of many company announcements, technical sessions, and continued hype, there were also more pragmatic questions that attendees were asking us during the event such as. “How can you help me with simplifying my journey to integrate my workloads with the leading public and SaaS cloud providers”, AWS being one of them.

At re: Invent 2023, HPE focused on our hybrid cloud offerings, and one of them being hybrid multi-cloud networking with HPE Aruba Networking’s EdgeConnect SD-WAN platform which enables enterprises to simplify their multi-cloud networking integrations with the five largest public cloud providers, including AWS.

In fact, HPE Aruba Networking demonstrated how integrating  EdgeConnect SD-WAN with AWS Cloud WAN can help enterprises easily use SD-WAN as a cloud on-ramp to connect branch sites to the AWS backbone which serves as the “middle mile” and this provides a modern edge-to-cloud integration. We also announced at AWS re:Invent HPE’s new partnership with KT, which will allow KT to provide its customers with a globally-managed SD-WAN service, powered by EdgeConnect integrated with AWS Cloud WAN thus allowing KT to offer its customers a faster, higher performance and cost-effective alternative to using an MPLS network for global branch office connectivity.

Optimizing IaaS workload connectivity

EdgeConnect enables automated branch to multi-cloud connectivity to AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Oracle Cloud backbones assuring that EdgeConnect application-aware capabilities enhance cloud-hosted applications from any transport network. This ensures:

  • Consistent high performance for branch-cloud connectivity by applying granular QoS and security policies that automatically detect and correct underlay performance issues without IT intervention.
  • Simple support accessibility of enterprise hosted applications hosted in AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Oracle cloud infrastructure providers, including automated orchestration to their cloud backbone services.
  • Secure network-wide security policy enforcement, drag-and-drop service chaining, and IaaS API integration with application segmentation to keep IaaS applications safe from vulnerabilities and threats.

Optimizing SaaS application experience

When it comes to optimizing SaaS experience, the EdgeConnect SD-WAN platform includes a number of built-in software innovations to optimize SaaS connectivity:

  • Microsoft 365 traffic is optimized using EdgeConnect first-packet iQ application classification which identifies applications on the first packet, Microsoft 365 traffic is automatically steered to the closest Microsoft 365 entry point.
  • Ruggedized first mile solution requires two EdgeConnect appliances to “bookend” the links between the branch office and an instance of an IaaS platform close to the UCaaS (RingCentral, 8X8 etc.) data center. By extending the EdgeConnect SD-WAN fabric into AWS, Azure or GCP infrastructure, all of the EdgeConnect advanced performance features ruggedize this first mile to improve the performance, quality, and availability of the real- time applications.

Turbocharging SaaS optimization with AppExpress

AppExpress is the latest EdgeConnect SD-WAN software innovation that further optimizes SaaS traffic and dynamically selects the best path based on network conditions across network service providers, SSE PoPs, and cloud service providers such as AWS and Azure.

So how does it work? AppExpress optimizes user experience for business-critical applications – both private and SaaS applications - such as Zoom, Workday, SAP, Microsoft 365, and other applications. AppExpress exploits SD-WAN path diversity by automatically selecting the best path for each application.

The feature leverages synthetic polling and real‑time user traffic observations to intelligently steer traffic regardless of how the application traffic is broken out. This includes:

  • Local breakout: It efficiently routes traffic over MPLS, Internet, 4G/5G or satellite links automatically choosing the best link for optimal performance.
  • Optimized steering to IaaS: the system automatically steers traffic to a virtual instance of EdgeConnect SD‑WAN hosted in IaaS platforms such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, ensuring efficient data flow.
  • SSE PoP: AppExpress selects the best SSE Point of Presence (PoP) that offers the highest performance, further enhancing user experience.

To really see AppExpress in action, please check out the Lightboard video

Advanced multi-cloud networking

Over the past five years, HPE Aruba Networking has invested resources in adding support for multi-cloud connectivity integrations and embedded capabilities for the EdgeConnect SD-WAN platform. For example, by deploying an EdgeConnect virtual appliance into a cloud environment, customers can build an overlay network into any cloud service, including the “Big Five” of Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud and deploy these from the HPE Aruba Networking Orchestrator. Enterprises can use an EdgeConnect SD-WAN MCN overlay fabric to stitch several cloud networks together, instantly building scalable access to a global multi-cloud network.

This enables building global, multi-cloud networks easier than ever. – now including services such as public-cloud onramps and gateways, datacenter cloud exchanges such as those provided by Equinix and Digital Realty, or Megaport.

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