SD-WAN Series – The Components (SD- WAN Series: P1)

Hi there, know it has been a while – to be exact my last post was back in August. A lot has happened since 🙂 – However this post is not about me, but about me and what I have been up to maybe in a different post!

This time I’d like to give the spotlight to the buzz technology that has been out there for a while but with many different names. In my pursuit to understand everything I do and everything I think helps me build on my knowledge, I wanted to dissect few things on SD-WAN – So what better than to come up with a series.

What is SD-WAN?

SDWAN is basically Software-Defined Networking based on WAN technologies, get it? – well the SD”X” buzz acronym looks to address Networks in a more Software oriented way, in this case, the networking hardware is separated from its control mechanism ** If you consider I failed you on giving you the basics, feel free to read the whole thing in Wikipedia 🙂 –> SD-WAN on Wikipedia

What problem does SDWAN solve?

This one seems a bit easier, and it can be oversimplified to a few different solutions:

  • Ability to Leverage Wide Area Network technologies efficiently to provide reachability between sites
  • Load balancing between different WAN circuits
  • Intelligent path decisions based on few things **More on this one later
  • Failover between primary and Secondary links
  • Ability to aggregate cheap WAN Links and get rid of that hefty MPLS bill

There are a few more benefits as we drill down into the different things that this sweet technology can do for us

What are the components of SD-WAN

From vendor to vendor it differs but one of them we can agree on is a single place to manage “all configurations” – So let’s break it down!

Controller, Orchestrator or Manager

So it doesn’t matter how you’d like to call it or how vendors call it this is the proverbial “single pane of glass” that we all have heard of for the last few years. This is where all the configurations are executed, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they all have been created in the same interface, again, we are talking about software doing its magic.

The Edge Devices

These are the devices that are the ones connected directly to the internet, MPLS and other WAN circuits. These guys are the ones in charge of routing your packets using intelligence coming from either the controller or other components as you will see is the case with different vendors.

Other Components

And why not, Manufacturers on top of separating few components to come up with SD-WAN, well they also separate few functions into multiple servers/services. For example, there are servers to hold the central management of the routing policies and authentication of all devices in an SD-WAN infrastructure.

All Components by manufacturers

I may not do any service to the manufacturers with the following list and its oversimplification, however, the idea is to have a working space for me to keep building on my knowledge of the particular implementation of the technologies


  • Meraki Dashboard
  • Meraki Firewalls (Edge Devices)


  • FortiManager or FortiManager Cloud
  • Fortigate (Edge Device)


  • VC Edge
  • VC Orchestrator
  • VG Gateways


  • vSmart Controller
  • vManage
  • vEdge Routers
  • vBond Orchestrator


  • Unity EdgeConnect
  • Unity Orchestrator
  • Unity Boost

What to look forward to?

As this series progresses, links should be available. I sincerely hope this helps others understand the SD-WAN Landscape and space

About the Author:

Andres Sarmiento, CCIE # 53520 (Collaboration)
With more than 13 years of experience, Andres is specialized in Unified Communications and Collaboration technologies. Consulted for several companies in South Florida, also Financial Institutions on behalf of Cisco Systems. Andres has been involved in high-profile implementations including Cisco technologies; such as Data Center, UC & Collaboration, Contact Center Express, Routing & Switching, Security and Hosted IPT Service provider infrastructures.

You can follow Andres using Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook

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