SD-WAN Cloud Connect: A Truly Exceptional Networking Breakthrough

by Mike Frane
July 20, 2018

I don’t normally talk about product releases in my blog posts, but the new SD-WAN Cloud Connect service that Windstream Enterprise recently unveiled is something I’ve been championing for months.

Because for me, SD-WAN Cloud Connect is game-changing in its marriage of software‑defined WAN and cloud based applications. We’re finally getting to the core purpose of networking: Extending every application in an enterprise to everyone who needs access to it, efficiently and economically.

Created in a partnership by Windstream Enterprise and VMware NSX (formerly VeloCloud), SD‑WAN Cloud Connect’s breakthrough is that it connects every network location in an enterprise to the cloud-based applications run by that enterprise – and provides end-to-end visibility and control enterprises have come to expect from a SD‑WAN.

In doing so, it answers long-standing enterprise needs for agility, affordability, visibility, and control with highly secure access to leading cloud service providers over public Internet.

How the technologies combine to make it work

With SD-WAN Cloud Connect, a virtual Windstream SD-WAN edge device at the cloud service provider (CSP) becomes another location on the SD-WAN. This location is then linked directly to all other sites, putting those apps closer to end users to decrease latency. The SD-WAN technology provides the security and application performance that an Internet-only connection can’t deliver on its own. Then, adding a secondary connection to the SD-WAN Cloud Connect edge device virtually eliminates downtime for mission-critical, cloud-based apps.

Finally, adopting enterprises have the option of self-installing or engaging Windstream Enterprise’s Professional Services to spin up the virtual SD-WAN Cloud Connect edge device on a server at the CSP. Once the install is complete, Windstream Enterprise activates the edge device, making it part of the network, and manages that location as part of a fully managed SD-WAN Concierge solution. The SD-WAN Cloud Connect location appears in the SD-WAN Management Tool with the same levels of visibility and control as any other SD-WAN location.

A new level of network access to applications

As a champion of advanced networking benefits, this approach to application availability gets me pumped in multiple ways:

  • It enables low-latency connections from all SD-WAN locations to both public and proprietary apps running at leading CSPs
  • It provides flexible options for connection via Internet from any provider
  • An active/active configuration with 2 connections delivers maximum uptime and performance
  • It’s fully managed, and integrates with other premises-based edge devices. The SD-WAN Management Tool provides complete visibility, with real-time dashboards and reporting, plus control over business and security policies.

The best new products are those that make it possible to do something you couldn’t easily do before – if at all – and to do it elegantly, efficiently, and cost-effectively. That absolutely describes SD-WAN Cloud Connect. If you’ve been looking for the ultimate in cloud connectivity, be sure to check it out.