re:Invented to the Core

by Adam Gervin

You've got to hand it to Amazon. They have their fingers in a LOT of pies. Makes you think – if they had known they'd get this pervasive at the beginning, maybe they'd have chosen a different name. I mean, the jungle is pretty big, but it's not a global phenomenon.

Global Accelerator from Amazon is, as its name implies, truly global. No, it's not a startup incubator (sure sounds like one, ahem). It's Amazon's SD-CORE for AWS. It's hot off the presses for those of you attending AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas. It takes its place side-by-side with Azure Virtual WAN and Edge Gravity by Ericsson as the latest SD-CORE from a major cloud provider. And, if you think about it, it validates four major realities facing cloud-era businesses, many of whom have adopted SD-WAN.

1. Internet Core just doesn't cut it.

OK, Amazon does the same thing we do when we talk about the Internet – treat it with care. Because, really, we love the public Internet. It does amazingly well as a best-efforts system. But here's the rub: Amazon would not have built Global Accelerator if AWS customers weren't having performance and availability issues using the Internet Core. According to Peter DeSantis, AWS VP Global Infrastructure, Amazon wants to improve the performance and availability of applications running across AWS regions by bypassing the public Internet and transporting data on the AWS Global Network. In particular, he calls out applications like voice, video, interactive experiences, and those requiring long-haul traffic. Sounds pretty ubiquitous.

2. Internet Access is part of the solution.

Like any SD-CORE, AWS Global Accelerator relies on last-mile Internet Access. We've cited many studies that have shown that Internet Access is very capable of being a part of a reliable software-defined WAN solution (SD-CORE QoS Without MPLS from SD-WAN Experts, and Addressing SD-Core: Boosting SD-WAN performance without MPLS from Cisco), and Amazon clearly agrees with this assessment.

3. The world needs a Multi-Cloud and Hybrid-Cloud SD-CORE.

As cool as this is for AWS customers, there is a lot more to keeping a business always-on than just AWS. Businesses need an affordable, reliable, SD-WAN compatible solution that covers the broadest set of enterprise use cases: branch and data center connectivity, all IaaS and PaaS clouds, and the gamut of SaaS applications. An unreliable, unpredictable, and often unsecure Internet Core (see Google goes down after major BGP mishap routes traffic through China, Suspicious event hijacks Amazon traffic for 2 hours, steals cryptocurrency, and Strange snafu misroutes domestic US Internet traffic through China Telecom from ArsTechnica) makes always-on unobtainable at worst, or difficult at best for IT and NetOps. Given that Global Accelerator may very well diminish traffic on Service Provider backbones, this is a major opportunity for SPs to step up and offer an SD-CORE that doesn't just serve Amazon's needs. Hint.

4. Affordability: the big omission

Truth is, there is an Internet Core alternative out there already – MPLS. It's the traditional approach, but it's got two major knocks against it: it's expensive, and it's decidedly inflexible, in a few significant ways. These downsides have been the major impetus for SD-CORE alternatives, so it would be ironic if these same alternatives priced themselves out of widespread adoption. Here's the rub: it costs a lot to run a highly available private IP backbone using today's industry standards. Even if you're Amazon, unless you change the fundamentals of network control, a private HA solution is going to cost. The CSP model is also a problem for always-on businesses. It's predicated on making it very inexpensive to get data in, but very expensive to get that same data out. That makes sense when your strategy is to keep customers on your cloud, but it's antithetical to the needs of cloud-era businesses who really need multi-cloud, affordable, HA, secure bi-directional data transport in ever-increasing amounts. That's why we are so excited about Perfect Network ControlTM. When you re:Invent network control, and you triple effective network utilization, you deliver an otherwise unobtainable mix of flexibility, reliability, AND affordability.

An SD-CORE that costs the same as business Internet, but with QoS and SLA guarantees, that supports multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud, every SD-WAN, and pretty much every other enterprise WAN use case? Now THAT'S re:Invention. And that, my friends, is Mode SD-CORE: table stakes for keeping your business always-on.

We're not the only ones who think so. Searl Tate, Managing Director, Information Technology of Paul Hastings LLP, has this to say about keeping his global law firm always-on:

"Mode stands out as a unique option that offers all facets of reliability, security, flexibility, and value in a software-defined private enterprise WAN — today. Mode understands the importance of an affordable high-availability 'middle mile' and Mode SD-CORE delivers."

Speaking of always-on: enterprise security plays a big role in giving IT and NetOps peace of mind. It's a hot topic, as is Zero Trust architecture. So what's the role of SD-CORE in all this? re:Inventing end-to-end security in the cloud era, of course. Come back next time to find out how.

Read more about AWS Global Accelerator SD-CORE here.