Aerohive 'Software Defines' the LAN
Redefines the access layer with flexibility in mind.
Sure, you've heard of software-defined networking; you've even heard of software-defined WAN lately if you've been reading No Jitter. Now, you can add another SD term to your lexicon. Earlier this week, cloud networking company Aerohive Networks announced its solution for SD-LAN.
SD-LAN represents a new architecture for access networks, Milind Pansare, director of strategic marketing at Aerohive, told me in a briefing, particularly for organizations that are having trouble adapting their network to the especially dynamic demands mobility introduces to the business network operations. In efforts to deliver solutions for this new architecture, Aerohive's SD-LAN capabilities include:
- New line of cloud-managed access switches
- AP250, which is a Wave 2 802.11ac access point that has software definable dual 5 Ghz radios
- The latest release of HiveManager NG for cloud management of the network and associated policy
- Dynamic application and identity-driven network performance
- An open API platform
Mobility continues to disrupt connectivity, Pansare said, and modern networks need to adapt continuously to keep up with the rapid clip of change. The traditional network architecture is becoming a thing of the past, he added.
Built on the principles of SDN in the data center and SD-WAN, Aerohive aims to deliver a flexible approach to wireless and wired access network with its SD-LAN solution. "This builds an application and policy-driven architecture, unchaining hardware and software layers while offering self-organizing and centrally managed networks that are simpler to operate, integrate, and scale," Aerohive stated in its press materials.
Aerohive is breaking new ground by bringing the SD concept to the campus LAN, said UC analyst and regular No Jitter contributor Zeus Kerravala. And that's a positive move, he noted. "I would argue that this is where 'software-defined' is needed most. The LAN connects thousands of devices into sometimes hundreds of network devices, including switches and access points, and having to configure these in a box-by-box manner is a long, laborious process that's fraught with human error," he told me.
In fact, Kerravala's firm, ZK Research, has found that the largest component of network downtime -- 35% -- is due to human error, he added. "Aerohive's SD-LAN centralizes control and automates configuration changes across all devices at once removing much of the burden from high-level network engineers."
SD-LAN defines five key attributes for dynamic networks, Pansare said. These are:
- Application optimization -- A business's application priorities drive the performance and behavior of the SD-LAN dynamically
- Identity driven -- Use of policy and context to define user access and provide granular authentication
- Adaptable access layer -- Access points and switches defined in software
- Cloud managed -- Extend reach of software to any location via public or private clouds
- Open APIs -- SD-LAN APIs turn network infrastructure into part of the application architecture, allowing the network itself to provide insights as it adapts to application requirements