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Why NetApp IT is migrating from iWAN to SD-WAN

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Igor Zozulya
Igor Zozulya

WAN technology has served NetApp well, enabling us to serve a global workforce. However, it is a complex and inflexible solution that is nearing end of life. A new solution is needed. That’s why NetApp is migrating to the next-generation software-defined WAN (Cisco SD-WAN), which is truly software defined and is easy to deploy, operate, and scale.

Cisco introduced iWAN (intelligent WAN) as the company’s first software-defined WAN, and it worked well for us for several years. However, as NetApp grew, so did our needs.

We need a WAN that is easily scalable, has high-speed throughput, and can easily connect to cloud-based services. SD-WAN enables us to have enterprise-levels of network connectivity over the public internet, with controlled authentication. We will increase our bandwidth and reduce costs, as we continue to take advantage of the full power of the cloud.

The need for more bandwidth, all the time

Our biggest requirement when researching options was the need to deliver more data, quickly. Our business delivers large amounts of data around the world, 24 hours a day. We need everyone who is connected to the NetApp® IT network to have the same experience, regardless of where they are.

Our current iWAN solution has scalability limitations. iWAN cannot support more than 2.5 Gbps moving to the cloud and approximately 9 Gbps on premises. We anticipate that the new SD-WAN will increase our total throughput by up to 40 Gbps on premises and 5-7 Gbps to the cloud. This increase gives us data highway connectivity for everyone. and enhances how data is passed from the cloud to our premises and from our premises to the cloud. More efficient passing of data will better enable us to provide options like desktop virtualization—and provide employees and partners a NetApp compute instance that’s not tethered to a location. SD-WAN will support our ongoing activities to use the cloud more and on-premises storage less. We will also be able to increase our portfolio of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) hosted by hyperscalers.

Moving away from borders

Cloud-focused infrastructure needs to be able to scale to any location, anywhere in the world. SD-WAN will enable us to operate a highly efficient and highly resilient network that connects our premises and cloud data centers in a single mesh. We’re able to bring all users under one umbrella to provide a consistent experience for everyone.

If there is a need to scale in APAC and EMEA, we can do that easily. If scaling up is a temporary need, we can scale back easily.

Also, there is no border between our internal enterprise network and the cloud. There is no transition between different parts of the network because they all operate as a single mesh network. We can still create segments to meet security needs, but every segment will have the same experience.

NetApp is now migrating infrastructure and data to the new SD-WAN and anticipates completion in 2023.

The NetApp on NetApp blogs feature advice from NetApp IT subject matter experts who share their real experiences in using industry-leading NetApp data management solutions to support business goals. To learn more, visit

Igor Zozulya

Igor Zozulya is a Senior Network Expert and WAN Architect for NetApp IT.

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