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AWS Cloud WAN promises simplified multi-cloud management

Available as a preview since December, AWS’s managed wide area network service is now generally available

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced this week the general availability of Cloud WAN, its managed wide area network (WAN) service. AWS Cloud WAN connects on-prem data centers, branch offices and cloud resources together on AWS’ global backbone, providing centralized private network control and management through a unified interface and control system. 

“Enterprises can now use AWS Cloud WAN to simplify the way they build, manage, and monitor their networks using a single dashboard with minimal complexity,” said AWS, which emphasized Cloud WAN’s suitability for hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.

AWS first announced Cloud WAN last December. The company offered Cloud WAN late last year as a preview, providing a staged rollout in limited AWS Regions, growing the supported. This announcement marks the service’s general availability for all AWS customers. 

AWS touts the service’s support from major SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networking) software vendors and network appliance makers including Aruba, Aviatrix, Checkpoint, Cisco Meraki, Cisco Systems, Prosimo and VMware. Others including Kyndryl and Fortinet were previously announced at the service’s 2021 preview launch. 

AWS vice president of Amazon EC2 David Brown explained that AWS Cloud WAN provides a way for enterprises to reduce dependency on networks and network services, which are poorly optimized for increasingly complex multi-cloud deployments.

“Many wide area networks used by enterprises today consist of a patchwork of connections between branch offices and data centers that were optimized for applications that run on premises,” he said.

Brown added that AWS Cloud WAN offers a simplified, high-performance approach using a modern, distributed model.

“We hear from customers that they are tired of the complexity of managing multiple networks with different connectivity, security, and monitoring requirements using multiple third-party products and services,” said Brown at the time of Cloud WAN’s initial announcement.

SD-WAN abstracts network control, management, provisioning and security away from the physical location of enterprise data and workflows. That’s why it’s emerged as a hot IT growth sector, one of the hottest, according to market researchers at Gartner. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), the public cloud market segment which includes SD-WAN, was a $90.9 billion market in 2021. And Amazon is the worldwide market leader in that segment, with 38.9% of the worldwide 2021 public cloud IaaS market share, or about $35.58 billion in revenue.

What’s driving that revenue? Increasing complicated enterprise cloud and data deployment and changing workforce conditions come into play. Enterprise IT departments are grappling with rapidly rising need for safe, scalable, and secure hybrid cloud and hybrid work solutions, and hyperscalers — especially AWS — are happy to oblige.

SD-WAN as a service — courtesy of your local public cloud service provider — isn’t a one size fits all solution, of course. Amazon and its hyperscaler competitors all offer the same basic value proposition: eliminate capex, maximize opex. That’s a pretty old tune: No money down, and the rest of your life to pay. So SD-WAN as a service, either through AWS and its generally available Cloud WAN or through other service providers, remains one option. 

Even large, global enterprises like Siemens find value in it — the company recently migrated its global network to SD-WAN thanks to Orange Business Services (OBS). OBS and Siemens are long-time partners; Siemens uses physical network infrastructure, connecting its global offices using multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). The change to SD-WAN enables Siemens to use MPLS and Internet-based access to achieve optimal efficiency, a company executive told RCR Wireless News. OBS integrated a software-based and local security platform, then added SD-WAN capabilities to more effectively manage network traffic.


Peter Cohen
Peter Cohen
Peter is Technology Editor for RCR Wireless News. His coverage areas include telco cloud and the convergence of 5G and cloud computing. Peter's background includes IT management and a decade as a senior editor at Macworld. He and his family live in Massachusetts.

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