01 April 2010

VBN Killed The Branch-In-A-Box

In 1979 The Buggles released their debut single, 'Video Killed The Radio Star,' a nostalgic look at radio from the perspective of the video age that killed it.

Progress drives on, looking nostalgically in the rear view mirror from time to time, but propelled forward by the engine of our insatiable desire for something better.

Tube-based table radios are nostalgic. So are rotary phones, wooden plows, and iron clad ships. Doesn't mean we want to use them anymore. They were abandoned because something better came along. Something easier to use. Faster.Less expensive.

Technology transitions happen all the time in enterprise IT, but the branch office and fixed teleworker seem to have been neglected along the way. And what an oversight it was. Today more than 85% of employees work outside of the primary corporate campus. Yet they need - but haven't had - the same access to corporate network resources and applications as someone in the home office.

The solution cobbled together by router vendors was to remotely replicate the infrastructure that's on the corporate campus. That is, assemble a stack of appliances for security, VPN, Wi-Fi, routing - and then try to integrate them to work together.

Over time the separate appliances morphed into an integrated branch-in-a-box router. But experience showed that while you can morph a router from a hairball, but you can never take the hairball out of the router. From the user's point of view, the solution was little improved.

The fundamental problem is that the campus network and its branch offspring were designed assuming static users sitting behind protective firewalls. Mobility - mobile users specifically - breaks that model. You have to punch holes in firewalls, configure complex VLAN assignments for segmenting traffic and user types, install VPNs to protect roaming users. The list goes on and on. And grows more expensive, complex, and user unfriendly as it does.

Virtual Branch Networking (VBN) 1.0 was introduced in 2009 as a ground-up, mobility focused solution. VBN made it less expensive and simpler to securely connect remote users with the enterprise network at low cost and without changing the user experience.

VBN 2.0 goes one giant step farther by leveraging cloud services to do the job done by branch routers today - application acceleration, content security, remote access. Only it does so using a lower cost, more scalable solution that delivers a consistent user experience regardless of where you work: in the corporate HQ, in a branch office, from home, or on the road.

The cloud provides a massively scalable, economical way of delivering services and applications. It has changed the way we transfer data, download files, and use applications. When applied to branch networks, cloud services are the perfect tonic. They deliver essential business-critical services, without complexity, to widely distributed users at less than half the cost of the branch in-a-box router. This is one change you'll make and never, ever look back.

In my mind and in my branch,

We can't rewind it bought the ranch,

VBN killed the branch-in-a-box.

Read more about VBN 2.0 on-line.