Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation SD-WAN Solution Enhances Security and Simplifies Network Operations

Many of the latest SD-WAN solutions integrate with next-generation firewalls (NGFW) ensuring network traffic is secure. NGFWs maintain features of stateful firewalls such as packet filtering, VPN support, network monitoring, and IP mapping features and also possess deeper inspection capabilities that give them a superior ability to identify attacks, malware, and other threats. NGFWs provide the enterprise with application control, intrusion prevention, and advanced visibility across the network. NGFWs more thorough inspection style allows for checking packet payloads and matching signatures for harmful activities such as exploitable attacks and malware.

The CloudGenix ION 1000 (top) and the CloudGenix ION 9000 (bottom) expand Palo Alto Networks CloudGenix SD-WAN solution’s reach down to the smallest branches and up to multi-gigabit campuses.

One of the major players in the NGFW space is Palo Alto Networks. Last November we broke the news that they entered the SD-WAN space. In March of this year, Palo Alto announced they are acquiring SD-WAN leader CloudGenix. This news came a few weeks after Cloudgenix enhanced its partner program – for partners who are more cloud-savvy and can install the latest AIOps-based solutions for branch offices.

Palo Alto has now said they are offering the first next-generation SD-WAN solution which is a nice play on its sister NGFW product line. These are some of its characteristics:

  • App Defined – Providing application layer visibility enabling network teams to create app-based policies and deliver SLAs for all apps, improving the end-user experience.
  • Autonomous – Automated operations and problem avoidance using machine learning and data science, eliminating up to 99% of WAN and application access trouble tickets.
  • Cloud-delivered – Enabling all branch services to be delivered from the cloud, including networking and security, simplifying WAN management and enabling branches to be rolled out in minutes instead of months.

Additions to the platform include:

Today, Palo Alto Networks is introducing a number of new additions to it’s Next-Generation SD-WAN solution:

  • Machine learning-based capabilities to further simplify network operations
  • A small form factor SD-WAN appliance designed for retail and small offices/home offices (SOHO)
  • A high-performance SD-WAN appliance suited for large campus locations
  • Seamless integration of Prisma Access cloud-delivered security

Palo Alto Networks has added machine learning (ML) and analytics features to CloudGenix SD-WAN to simplify network operations and improve capacity planning. For instance, the system automatically identifies common root cause events when there are multiple event alarms. This dramatically reduces the time to problem resoltion and increases the availability of applications. Where possible, the system automates problem resolution as well, freeing up operators to focus on higher value activities. New analytics features make capacity planning simpler by allowing operators to easily understand what WAN connections they are using, when they are using them, and what applications are driving that use. Palo Alto Networks plans to expand the use of ML to other use cases in the future.

ION 1000
The CloudGenix ION 1000 is a powerful small form factor SD-WAN appliance designed for retail and SOHO use cases. The ION 1000 is fanless, small and quiet enough to be placed in a work environment when no equipment room is available. As organizations re-architect their teleworking approaches to support remote workforces post-pandemic, the ION 1000 enables performance controls, availability and security for the home office that is consistent with enterprise policies.

ION 9000
The CloudGenix ION 9000 is the largest and most high-performance CloudGenix SD-WAN appliance to date, delivering twice the performance of the current flagship device. It is ideal for large branches and campus locations, supporting multi-gigabit throughput and a “fail to wire” high availability capability designed to mitigate the effects of physical WAN outages.

Kumar Ramachandran, senior vice president of product management for firewall as a platform at Palo Alto Networks

Prisma Access Security Integration
CloudGenix SD-WAN seamlessly integrates with Prisma Access, the industry’s most comprehensive secure access service edge (SASE) platform. With the integration of CloudGenix SD-WAN and Prisma Access, customers can secure intra- and inter-branch traffic as well as traffic from the branch to any applications hosted in public or private clouds. Customers can take advantage of the integration without the need to upgrade branch appliance hardware or software through the unique CloudGenix CloudBlades platform. CloudBlades enable the integration of cloud services, such as Prisma Access, using a cloud-hosted API architecture that eliminates the need for additional branch hardware or software in the branch.

“With cloud and multi-cloud adoption on the rise, end-user applications like videoconferencing and office productivity solutions are increasingly delivered as cloud services. Legacy WAN architectures have severe limitations, especially when organizations migrate to the cloud. First-generation SD-WAN falls significantly short in changing the economics of branch WAN infrastructure and services,” said Kumar Ramachandran, senior vice president of product management for firewall as a platform at Palo Alto Networks. “Enterprises are now demanding an autonomous SD-WAN solution that eliminates the need for manual operational tasks. Enterprises also need a cloud-delivered model for security and other branch services to gain cloud-scale economics. CloudGenix SD-WAN is the industry’s first next-generation SD-WAN solution that is app-defined, autonomous and cloud-delivered. With powerful ML-based capabilities, we deliver dramatic reductions in “day two” operational costs. A customer recently told us they reduced their WAN costs by 82%.”

Learn about the latest in SASE (secure access service edge) and SD-WAN at the SASE Summit Summer Series with multiple event dates in August and September, 2020. Learn why SASE matters about how SASE and SD-WAN work together, how SASE is essential to your digital transformation, the importance of self-healing networks and much more.

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