Business & Technology

New SD-WAN ASIC Changes the Playing Field

By Nirav Shah | April 09, 2019

DX is All About Application Performance and Secure Interconnectivity

All digital transformation can be boiled down to two fundamental requirements. The first is application performance. Today’s distributed organizations require instant and universal access to SaaS applications such as O365 and SalesForce, as well as rich media services such as VoIP and video conferencing that require significant amounts of bandwidth. These aren’t just nice-to-have requests. They have become fundamental, business-critical requirements, helping fuel overall IP traffic to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 26 percent that is expected to continue through 2022.

Access to these applications and services isn’t just about speed. The second fundamental requirement is secure interconnectivity. Users need to be able to connect to any other user or resource, sometimes several at the same time, using any device, regardless of location. And they need to do this using bandwidth-hungry applications that run across private and public networks that span multi-cloud environments, mobile users, and branch offices. This demand has accelerated the transformation of traditional networks into highly meshed environments that have pushed well beyond any traditional notion of a perimeter.

Oh, and they also need to do all of this securely, which requires constantly building and tearing down encrypted tunnels, applying a full range of security solutions to traffic to detect and prevent malicious activity, apply instant application identification and assessment, and inspecting encrypted traffic at digital business speeds—a CPU-intensive process that drives most security solutions to its knees.

The Enterprise WAN Edge is Increasingly Complex

The challenge is that innovation is struggling to keep up with demand. In the case of the branch office, interconnectivity across complex and dynamically shifting networks means that traditional MPLS connections are simply too rigid. And even when those connections are replaced with an SD-WAN solution, the promise of a fully connected branch is increasingly being restricted by the performance limitations of the SD-WAN solution in place—both in terms of raw bandwidth as well as its ability to manage the complex and dynamically changing meshed VPN overlay required to support dynamic and secure interconnectivity.

Another reason why the Enterprise WAN Edge has become so complex is that it needs to provide access to all of the same resources that a user or device located at the network core has, with all of the same functionality and performance, and without sacrificing security. As a result, SD-WAN solutions need to ensure high-performance connections, fully integrated security, application-centric controls, WAN optimization functions, and routing capabilities to the cloud and data center.

The problem is, most vendors can’t provide these functionalities in a single SD-WAN solution, which forces organizations to cobble together their own solution—usually built using uCPE routers which are very complex and expensive. Even this early in the development of the SD-WAN market, there is already a need to simplify WAN Edge offerings so that they provide adequate performance and best of breed functionality to achieve business centric outcomes, while simultaneously reducing WAN OpEx without ever sacrificing connection quality for flexibility.

World’s First SD-WAN ASIC

To address this challenge head on, Fortinet has announced world’s first SD-WAN ASIC designed to enable security-driven WAN Edge networking. It’s a powerful solution to a growing problem that no other vendor has even attempted because it is simply too large of an undertaking for most vendors. But with over 15 years of security ASIC development experience, solving business-critical issues with custom designed silicon chips is in Fortinet’s DNA.

Fortinet’s SOC4 ASIC-powered network ensures that organizations also enjoy the highest quality experience for their business critical applications, enabling and accelerating SD-WAN, Advanced Routing, and Security to achieve the highest quality experience possible without any performance and security concerns.  This custom-designed silicon chip—the first of its kind for an SD-WAN solution—delivers the fastest application identification and steering in the industry, while providing connectivity and advanced security capabilities 10X faster than the competition. 

Along with the SD-WAN ASIC, Fortinet has announced the new FortiGate 100F, the first appliance to be powered by our new purpose-built ASIC. It combines best-of-breed SD-WAN and security capabilities into a form factor that delivers 10x higher performance than the competition, while reducing the overall complexity of managing point products by consolidating both SD-WAN and NGFW capabilities into a single, high performance solution. 

And for organizations looking to fully transform their SD-WAN to SD-Branch by connecting their WAN connection to their internal branch LAN, the SOC4 ASIC is also able to accelerate the extension of connectivity and security to the access layer (Wireless Access Points and Switches) to deliver SD-Branch for simplicity and transformation of the entire branch. This ensures high-performance connectivity from end to end, enables the deployment of a single, unified security strategy that provides consistent visibility and control, and further reduces next gen branch complexity and cost. Customers can leverage the FortiGate 100F and SD-WAN ASIC to enable new WAN initiatives, while also delivering the industry’s best threat protection and detection capabilities, without ever having to choose between protection and performance.

Key features include:

  • SOC4 – World’s First SD-WAN ASIC
  • FortiGate 100F delivers 1Gbps threat protection and 12 Gbps of Overlay VPN at the industry’s lowest price for any SD-WAN solution.
  • Higher application identification performance provides the industry’s fastest Application Steering for more efficient business operations.
  • Overlay (IPSec VPN) acceleration enables the best user experience that a responsive accelerated overlay WAN.
  • High network, security, and SSL performance combines best-of-breed, certified SD-WAN and security with the industry’s highest performance.
  • Higher CAPWAP (Control and Provisioning of Wireless Access Points) performance for SD-Branch accelerates the access controller’s ability to manage a large number of wireless termination points to better enable SD-Branch transformation.

Conclusion

Organizations need a true SD-WAN solution designed to meet all of the demands of the new Wan Edge, including high-performance connections, fully integrated security, application-centric controls, WAN optimization, and routing that support the seamless connect of the WAN Edge to the local branch LAN.

The FortiGate 100F combines best-of-breed SD-WAN and security capabilities, powered by a purpose-built ASIC, to deliver a full SD-WAN solution designed for today’s WAN Edge, including 10x higher performance while reducing the overall complexity of managing point SD-WAN products. It also extends accelerated security to the branch LAN (AP and Switches) from SD-WAN to deliver next gen SD-Branch functionality to simplify and transform the entire branch. This enables organizations to enable new WAN initiatives without worrying about security and performance. 

Find out more about Fortinet's Secure SD-WAN Solutions and our new SD-WAN ASIC chip.

Read more about the Fortinet Security Fabric and how Fortinet is delivering solutions for the Third Generation of Network Security