July 18, 2024

Containerized SDWAN Deployment vs Virtual Machine (VM) SDWAN Deployment

8 min read
Discover the differences between containerized SDWAN deployment and virtual machine (VM) SDWAN deployment in this informative article.
Two different networks

Two different networks

Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SDWAN) is one of the most significant innovations of the modern era. As businesses continue to grow, they strive to connect all their offices and facilities across various regions, countries, and even continents. With traditional WANs, this process can be challenging, expensive, and often not scalable. Meanwhile, SDWAN makes it easy for businesses to interconnect their networks, manage their bandwidth, secure their data, and enhance their performance.

When it comes to deploying SDWAN, there are two main options: Containerized and Virtual Machine (VM). Containerization and VM are rapidly becoming the leading SDWAN deployment strategies that businesses are considering. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at both solutions and compare their pros and cons along several factors.

Understanding the Differences between Containerized SDWAN and Virtual Machine (VM) SDWAN Deployments

The first thing to understand is the basic differences between these two types of SDWAN deployments. VMs are the most significant elements of data centers as they virtualize hardware and provide a cost-effective solution to applications. On the other hand, containers are lightweight encapsulations of applications, which can run on top of a VM or even on physical infrastructure. Containerization enables businesses to deploy, run, and scale applications quickly. Therefore, the main difference between these two deployments lies in their levels of abstraction and their resource allocation.

Another significant difference between containerized SDWAN and VM SDWAN deployments is their security. Containers are designed to be isolated from each other, which means that if one container is compromised, it does not affect the others. This makes containerized SDWAN deployments more secure than VM SDWAN deployments, where a single compromised VM can potentially affect the entire network.

Furthermore, containerized SDWAN deployments offer greater flexibility and agility than VM SDWAN deployments. Containers can be easily moved between different environments, such as from development to production, without requiring significant changes to the underlying infrastructure. This allows businesses to quickly respond to changing market conditions and customer needs, without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.

Pros and Cons of Containerized SDWAN Deployment

Containerized SDWAN deployment is a popular choice among businesses. One of its main benefits is that containers are lightweight and don’t require a lot of system resources. This means that they can run faster and lower the costs of running SDWAN on-premise. Containers are also highly flexible and can quickly be deployed on a variety of platforms, including VMs and cloud-native systems like Kubernetes. Additionally, as containerization becomes more popular, businesses are beginning to adopt it as a standardization strategy, as it allows for an easy migration of software from one environment to another. However, containers also come with drawbacks, such as being challenging to manage, having less isolation, and having less storage capacity and bandwidth than VMs.

Another advantage of containerized SDWAN deployment is that it allows for better scalability. Containers can be easily replicated and distributed across multiple nodes, which makes it easier to handle traffic spikes and ensure high availability. Moreover, containers can be updated and rolled back quickly, which reduces downtime and improves the overall reliability of the system. On the other hand, containerization also introduces new security challenges, as containers share the same kernel and can potentially access each other’s data. Therefore, it is important to implement proper security measures, such as container isolation and network segmentation, to mitigate these risks.

Pros and Cons of Virtual Machine (VM) SDWAN Deployment

Virtual Machine SDWAN deployment is a traditional method that has been used for many years. VMs offer benefits such as high-level isolation, built-in monitoring, and rich storage capacity. Since they are virtual machines, they can provide an environment that is almost identical to the physical environment. This makes them highly efficient in running and managing various applications that require a lot of resources. However, VMs come with certain downsides. They are often more expensive to run than containers due to their overhead and require a lot of resources to operate. Additionally, because of their complexity, VMs can be challenging to deploy and manage.

Evaluating the Performance of Containerized SDWAN Deployment

In terms of performance, containerized SDWAN deployments are highly efficient. Containers have a minimal impact on system resources and can operate at higher speeds compared to VMs. Containers are also incredibly fast in booting up and consuming minimal RAM and CPU compared to VMs. They also allow for fast app switching, which means that applications can be deployed and modified much faster than in VMs. However, containerization comes at a cost, as they require specific configurations to operate and may require higher levels of expertise to manage.

Evaluating the Performance of Virtual Machine (VM) SDWAN Deployment

VMs offer good performance levels. Since they are virtual machines, they provide an environment that is almost identical to the physical environment, making them highly efficient in running and managing various applications that require a lot of resources. However, the problem with performance lies in the size of the VMs. VMs require specific configurations and can take longer to boot up and consume more system resources than containers. Due to their complexity, VMs can also be challenging to deploy and manage, making them less responsive in dynamic environments.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Containerized SDWAN and Virtual Machine (VM) SDWAN Deployments

Several factors can determine which deployment to choose between the two, including scalability, resource consumption, flexibility, cost, and expertise. Scalability means that the system should be able to handle a rapid increase in the number of applications or users. Resource consumption means how much processing power, RAM, and disk space are required to operate the system. Flexibility means the system’s ability to work with different platforms and the ease of moving between them. Cost refers to the total cost of ownership, including capital expenditure and operating expenses. Expertise means the level of knowledge required to deploy and manage the system properly.

Security Considerations for Containerized SDWAN Deployment

The growing popularity of containerization is due to the rise of microservices architecture, a trend that aims to break down complex monolithic applications into smaller, easily manageable services. Containerization also offers several advantages when it comes to security. Containers reduce the attack surface by isolating the application and its dependencies from the host system, improving overall cybersecurity posture. Containers also have less downtime in case of security breaches, reducing the overall impact on the system. However, containerized SDWAN deployments also require added security measures like securing container workflows, securing application code, and protecting container registries from external attacks.

Security Considerations for Virtual Machine (VM) SDWAN Deployment

Virtual machine-based SDWAN deployments also offer benefits in terms of security, given their isolation from the underlying host system. While they may not provide the same level of isolation as containers, they can employ traditional endpoint security measures, making it easy for businesses to deploy firewalls and antivirus software. This is important in securing the network against malware and other potential threats. Similarly, VMs can also be made more secure through specific configurations, such as network segmentation and capacity planning.

Cost Comparison Between Containerized SDWAN and Virtual Machine (VM) SDWAN Deployments

Cost is sometimes the most critical factor when it comes to choosing between containerized and VM deployment. Containerization is generally less expensive because it requires fewer system resources and less maintenance. Containerization also enables businesses to deploy modern applications much faster than VMs. With containerization, businesses can realize cost savings in the form of increased efficiency, reduced downtime, and enhanced flexibility. Meanwhile, VMs tend to be more expensive, mainly due to their overhead, longer setup times, and increased complexity. They may also be more costly to maintain and require more power and cooling than container-based systems, impacting ongoing operational expenses.

Understanding the Scalability of Containerized SDWAN Deployment

Scalability is another crucial factor when choosing between containerized and VM deployment. Containerized SDWAN deployment is highly scalable and can handle rapid increases in demands by adding new containers. Because of their lightweight nature, containers can be easily and quickly cloned, deployed, and scaled up on-demand, creating a highly dynamic and elastic infrastructure. Scaling containerized SDWAN can be done automatically, depending on the load or traffic conditions, making it highly efficient compared to VMs.

Understanding the Scalability of Virtual Machine (VM) SDWAN Deployment

Virtual machine-based SDWAN deployments also offer scalability, but on a smaller scale. VMs can be scaled horizontally by adding additional VMs to meet rising needs. Although VMs can be orchestrated automatically, they are less efficient than containerized systems and may require additional overheads, such as extensive monitoring tools and more complex network configurations.

How to Migrate from Virtual Machine (VM) to Containerized SDWAN Deployment

Migrating from VM-based SDWAN to containerized SDWAN can be challenging and may require additional expertise. The process involves identifying all the relevant applications, dependencies, and configurations, followed by the deployment of the containerized SDWAN on-premise or on the cloud. The migration process should be done in stages to ensure that the system’s performance and security are not compromised in the process. The migration process should also include a comprehensive testing phase to ensure that the new infrastructure runs efficiently and effectively. Lastly, businesses should continuously monitor the system, address any issues, and periodically review the migration process to identify any areas of improvement.

How to Migrate from Containerized to Virtual Machine (VM) SDWAN Deployment

Migrating from a containerized SDWAN deployment to a VM-based deployment involves a similar process to the one described above. The migration process should start with identifying all the relevant applications, dependencies, and configurations, followed by setting up the VM infrastructure on-premise or on the cloud. The migration process should be done in stages to ensure that the system’s performance and security are not compromised. The testing phase should be comprehensive and involve the entire system to ensure that all components are working correctly. Businesses should continuously monitor the system after the migration, address any issues, and periodically review the process to identify any areas of improvement.

Best Practices for Managing a Containerized or VM-Based SD WAN Environment

Regardless of the type of SDWAN deployment, there are certain best practices that businesses need to follow to manage their infrastructure efficiently. These include ensuring that the system is appropriately configured, regularly monitoring performance, maintaining proper security protocols, and transparently documenting the entire process. Additionally, businesses must have an excellent backup and disaster recovery plan to ensure business continuity in case of system failure. Lastly, businesses should consider investing in automation tools to streamline their SDWAN deployment operations and reduce human errors.

The Role of Automation in Optimizing Your Containerized or VM-Based SD WAN Environment

Automation is vital in optimizing containerized or VM-based SDWAN Deployment. Automation tools make it easier to deploy, manage, and monitor SDWAN network infrastructure. They allow businesses to automate repetitive tasks, freeing up time to focus on more value-added activities. Automation tools also reduce human error, ensure standardization, and improve efficiency across the system. Additionally, automation tools enable businesses to easily adapt to new environments and technologies, effectively future-proofing their infrastructure and enhancing their competitiveness in the market.

Conclusion

Choosing between containerized and VM-based SDWAN deployment is a task that depends on many factors, including scalability, resource consumption, flexibility, cost, and expertise. Both containerized and VM-based SDWAN deployment methods come with their advantages and disadvantages. Containerized deployments are lightweight, efficient, and highly scalable, while VM-based deployments have higher isolation, better security posture, and offer better performance for some applications. Ultimately, the decision depends on the specific requirements of a business and the expertise of the IT team. Regardless of the choice made, businesses must follow best practices, ensure proper security protocols, and leverage automation tools to manage their SDWAN infrastructure effectively. By making the right investment, businesses can enjoy optimal performance, security, and cost savings in their SDWAN deployment.

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