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Today on Insights. We go back to a conversation Host Bill Russell had with Craig Connors the VP & CTO, SD-WAN at VMware. The topic of discussion was The Importance of SD-WAN. And Bill asks Craig why are we even talking about it? And how does it work?

Transcript

Hello and welcome to another episode of Insights. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system ???? and creator of This Weekin Health IT. A channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and engaged. Our hope is that these episodes serve as a resource for the advancement of your career and the continued success of your team. Now onto the ???? show.

Today on insights. We go back to a conversation host Bill Russell had with Craig Connors, the VP and CTO SD-WAN at VMware. The topic of discussion was the importance of SD-WAN. And Bill asks Craig, why are we even talking about it? And how does it work?

What is SD-WAN? How is it fundamentally different from what we're doing today?

There's a lot of different SD-WAN vendors, a lot of different definitions of the terminology these days but I think at its core, there's a couple of different principles we're applying.

The first is converting from a hardware based processing of packets to a software based processing of packets. Decoupling the hardware and the software to give us the flexibility to run on commodity hardware on VMs in the cloud, in the places where the edges of the network are moving.

It also gives us the ability to simplify network management by bringing a single consolidated view of the network often managed through the cloud itself.

And third it offers some quality benefits by integrating both QoS, as well as some intelligence around application identification and link steering so that you get not only you use commodity circuits but you also use them better than a traditional Round Robin load balancing kind of solution would have done.

It's interesting because I think SD-WAN, you just rattled off the components and much like when VMware sort of came into the game, when we looked at the hypervisor for the first time, we didn't really grasp all the things that were going to be possible, how we could redo you know, disaster recovery, how it really changed the game in terms of the amount of resources, it took to manage these things. The amount of visibility. The amount of new technology you could layer on top of this, for instance, the smaller it gets the more we can overlay AI and those kinds of things, so that it can become much more dynamic.

How do you think that this has played out during COVID in terms of, so we send everybody to their homes, at least most of the administrative staff within the hospitals, even outside of healthcare. And you know, a lot of these people went to their homes. How would SD-WAN? How would that have transition have gone a little easier?

Yeah. I think SD-WAN, VMware SD-WAN in particular, we saw this facilitate the transition to work from home for a lot of users. I think there's a few big challenges that people ran into.

The first is just scaling the solution. So everybody has some sort of remote access VPN solution, even pre COVID but it wasn't designed for every single one to be connected to it simultaneously. And so it's not necessarily very easy to scale up a hardware based firewall in your data center that's terminating remote access connections from everywhere.

So you have this scalability problem where if you've got SD-WAN and it's running in software and it can be clustered across multiple VMs, it's much more easy to scale up, especially if you're using a cloud based solution, like VeloCloud, where we take care of the auto scaling for you. So that's one thing.

The second thing is obviously the quality of connectivity and the shift to telemedicine, the shift to Zoom calls like we're on right now, quality becomes really important. And I always say there's two different aspects of quality. And one is just making the video work.

But the other there is balancing that against everything else that's happening in the home because you have your family is home working, your kids are home on online schooling.

And there's two things I always bring up. One is if one other user in the house can affect a doctor trying to do a telemedicine appointment, you know, that's one disruption for the patient. But also just if my child's online schooling isn't working because the Internet's not working well enough and they need my help.

Then that's another distraction that happens. Right? So there's, there's almost a psychological aspect to it, as well as the network quality aspect where we need to make the network work well for everyone so that those distractions don't happen. And that's what we've seen SD-WAN actually provide to home users.

Wow, thanks for tuning in another great episode. If you have feedback for us regarding this content and materials, or if you would like to help us to amplify great thinking to propel healthcare forward, which is our ???? mission, please send us a note at hello@thisweekhealth.com. Thanks for listening. That's all for now. ????

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