What is WAN Edge Infrastructure?

As Gartner defines it, WAN Edge Infrastructure is a class of networking technology that provides connectivity to distributed IT resources. Whether those resources are in data centers, public clouds or delivered as SaaS applications, connectivity is delivered through a combination of hardware and software that works to provide reliability and security to the network.

What started as branch routers delivering MPLS has shifted to SD-WAN implementations delivering a combination of routing, VPN, firewall and other services via software.

While Trustgrid’s platform meets all of Gartner’s criteria for WAN Edge Infrastructure, there are unique differences that make the Trustgrid platform more relevant to some organizations than others.

The current landscape of WAN Edge vendors is mostly dominated by large incumbents providing branch-to-branch networking. And while this is a common use case, there is an emerging need for many organizations to provide additional capabilities over the network. The need to seamlessly integrate public cloud environments, manage bi-directional connectivity to on-premise appliances, and even run distributed application components at the edge mean that many are not finding what they need in the offerings from these large slower evolving vendors.

Over and over again, we hear the same thing… Trustgrid is the ONLY solution that was able to meet our customer’s requirements. Given how often we have heard this, I thought it was worth exploring what separates the Trustgrid solution from the other WAN Edge vendors.

The Growing Importance of the Network

The humble network used to be treated like a commodity. Appliances delivered routing capabilities and were replaced on fairly predictable schedules with each generation of equipment sporting slightly better speeds and feeds with a price increase to match. Complex configurations were handled by certified network engineers who spent a large amount of time ensuring that their configurations were stable and periodically updated while replacing old equipment with the latest version of that same equipment. Security procurements were handled separately and were often made by different stakeholders in the organization.

The cloud and a dissolving security perimeter have changed the calculus for the network. Today network and security decisions are being made at the same time and are preferably solved with the same solution. Simple routing has been replaced by feature-rich network virtualization and dashboards that abstract complexity, integrate security, and allow everything to function as an automated managed service. The network has stolen the show from the corporate data center and grown to be the centerpiece of all enterprise activity.

This transformation means that networking solutions are no longer selected simply on speeds and feeds but instead must be evaluated on their ability to solve the unique needs of each customer.

The Trustgrid Zero Trust Connectivity Platform

While Trustgrid does fall into the category of WAN Edge infrastructure, the Trustgrid platform is more than simply a networking point solution. It was built from the ground up as a network-as-a-service that provides a combination of SD-WAN, remote access and edge computing capabilities. This is accomplished through a unique approach that leverages cloud-native architectures, API-integrations and a containerized application approach that understands the modern network is no longer simply branch-to-branch connectivity.

Here are just a few of the ways that Trustgrid goes beyond the standard definition of WAN Edge Infrastructure.

  • Remote access integration – With the increasing number of remote staff in many organizations scalability and security have become critical. All Trustgrid nodes provide Zero Trust network access (ZTNA) to enterprise applications with the flip of a software switch. The platform provides agentless application access via a proprietary portal but can also work with open-source device agents like WireGuard or OpenVPN. By combining site-to-site connectivity with remote access administrators not only simplify their infrastructure, but also create a single source of truth for all system, application, and end-user network connectivity.
  • SASE extensibility – Because applications and end-users are now distributed, delivering security to all resources from the cloud is needed. This requires a deep integration of the network and security services. The Trustgrid platform’s edge computing capabilities allow security inspection to run ON the network and minimizes the backhauling of all traffic to centralized security appliances. This means that increased security is coupled with a decrease in operating costs, enhanced user experience.
  • Legacy appliance management – The management of on-premise appliances at scale is difficult and the challenge becomes more apparent as organizations move services to the cloud. Ideally, many organizations would like to manage these appliances as if they were in the cloud. These appliances need more than a simple network connection, they need a greater level of control to perform on-premise application deployments, data transformation, or other functions. Trustgrid’s platform uniquely addresses these needs by providing both connectivity and containerized application execution on each network node.
  • Mesh architectures – As corporate data centers have given way to public cloud, the traditional hub and spoke WAN architectures no longer work. The Trustgrid platform makes it easy for organizations to create secure mesh topologies over standard internet connections that integrate everything from the cloud to data centers and even IoT deployments. This eliminates the latency and bandwidth challenges of moving traffic to centralized locations but also provides flexibility and scalability for administrators managing complex IT environments.
  • Connecting one-to-many – SD-WANs have made great strides in working to include cloud endpoints. Today, many are able to connect a cloud resource to a data center in a one-to-one configuration. What all of them struggle with is the one-to-many situation that many cloud application providers are forced to deal with. A cloud-delivered SaaS application needing to connect to many customer environments can be burdened with managing 10s, 100s or even 1000s of VPN connections. Managing this at scale is challenging and extremely time (and cost) intensive. Because it is cloud-native with options for single-tenant and multi-tenant configurations, Trustgrid is designed for this situation and provides single pane of glass management for an infinite number of connections.
  • Cloud-like SLAs – One of the biggest reasons that enterprises relied on MPLS circuits, despite their expense and limitations, was their dependability. MPLS networks relied on their guarantee of five-nines (99.999%). Using redundant architectures with automated failovers, Trustgrid accomplishes the same availability as MPLS over standard internet connections at a fraction of the cost.

As the network grows in importance it will be critical to understand the distinction in network offerings. While Trustgrid can technically be defined as WAN Edge Infrastructure, the Trustgrid platform is so much more. And for those that seek the unique characteristics listed above, we are often the only suitable solution on the market.