Vendors are increasingly using the term “SD-branch” to describe their products. Consequently enterprises are asking us about these “SD-branch” solutions to achieve greater simplicity, agility and increased security via consistency of policies across branch devices. We/Gartner did not coin this term, and I don’t love the idea of YASDA (yet another software defined acronym), but the toothpaste is out of the tube…
Here is Gartner’s definition for SD-Branch products:
SD-branch products allow multiple branch network functions to be managed as a single construct. SD-branch products must support:
- Four network functions; WAN gateways, wired switching, WLAN and firewalls.
- Unified configuration, policy, reporting, visibility and automation across the four functions, via a single console.
- Zero-touch configuration for initial provisioning, and automated operational tasks such as troubleshooting, reporting and typical moves/adds/changes.
- A fully supported, documented and published API.
SD-branch solutions can be single vendor or multivendor; however, in practice, we anticipate that most enterprises will ultimately aim to have SD-branch deployments be single vendor. SD-branch is complementary to SD-WAN as SD-branch solutions can manage SD-WAN products.
In essence, SD-branch technology enables enterprises to deploy a single policy in a central manner that is automatically deployed to multiple devices at a location, and to multiple locations.
This idea is not new. The notion of unified management of branch office kit has been around. In prior years, was referred to as BoB (branch office in a box). I worked on projects back in the late 1990s and early 2000s to deliver Branch-in-a-Box and we kinda/sorta did it around 2006. I suppose “SD-branch” is a lot snazzier (but not sase-er) than BoB3.0 or SecureNextGenBoBaaS.
SD-branch and other hyped technologies are covered in the Hype Cycle for Enterprise Networking, 2020…
Andrew (don’t call be BoB)