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Palo Alto Networks launches autonomous SD-WAN solution

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As SD-WAN has become the primary WAN architecture, organizations are demanding solutions that deliver a better user experience while being simpler to deploy and manage. Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation SD-WAN takes an entirely new approach, with a solution that has the following 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.

Palo Alto Network’s approach to Next-Generation SD-WAN can help organizations deliver a return on investment (ROI) of 243%, according to Forrester Consulting.

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

“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%.”

Machine Learning and Analytics

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 resolution 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.

Palo Alto Networks commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact (TEI) study to assess the financial impact that CloudGenix SD-WAN deployment can have on an organization. Forrester found that the CloudGenix SD-WAN investment represents a 243% ROI over a three-year period.

“Organizations are looking to the next generation of SD-WAN solutions to help them with digital and network transformation, which includes a cloud-delivered model of branch IT services delivery to add agility and flexibility,” said Rohit Mehra, vice president of network infrastructure at IDC. “Palo Alto Networks SD-WAN approach enables the delivery of security, UCaaS, visibility and monitoring as cloud-services, reducing operational costs. The use of network analytics and AI/ML to provide autonomous capabilities is another area where enterprises are looking to make enhancements so they can minimize manual troubleshooting and remediation.”

“As the most respected retailers in the automotive industry for nearly 25 years, the customer experience in our stores is paramount to our business. AutoNation was facing network performance and reliability challenges as well as high opex costs for our legacy wide area network. We evaluated multiple SD-WAN products and it became clear to us that CloudGenix represented a best-of-breed solution in the next generation SD-WAN space. Our experience with Palo Alto Networks has been outstanding – the store closes under the legacy network architecture one night, and opens the next morning as a CloudGenix SD-WAN location – with zero downtime. We can deliver a rich set of services from the cloud with no additional on-site support using CloudGenix ION appliances. The machine learning-based analytics along with outstanding layer 7 visibility for troubleshooting have substantially reduced our opex costs,” said Adam Rasner, vice president of technology operations at AutoNation.


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