Orange brings SD-WAN to nearly 1,200 Siemens sites

Global electronics and energy company Siemens has gone all-in on SD-WAN, partnering with Orange Business Services to deliver SD-WAN to all of its 1,168 global locations in 94 countries.

Siemens inked a six-year contract with Orange in 2018 for 240 million Euros ($295 million US) to deploy SD-WAN across its locations. Under the hood, the managed SD-WAN service by Orange uses Cisco technology, which is the vendor Siemens was most comfortable with, said John Isch, practice director of the network and voice center of excellence for Orange Business Services.

This is a considerably large SD-WAN deployment for an enterprise with 370,000 employees. Isch usually sees an SD-WAN deployment of this size in retail locations, which typically use SD-WAN for point-of-sale activities versus supporting a full suite of enterprise applications.

"[Siemens] really wanted to improve the ease of use and efficiency of their network," explained Isch. "Having to hard-wire everything into the data center and having all your cloud traffic go to the data center first didn't make a lot of sense."

Providing more flexibility over the treatment of network traffic on a hybrid MPLS and SD-WAN network better supports Siemen's digital strategy as about 80% of their business applications are in the cloud, added Isch. In addition, SD-WAN provides Siemens with the ability to treat various types of traffic in different ways depending on security requirements, he said.

Isch has long been a proponent of discussing customer's security requirements for SD-WAN. One benefit of the industry's buzz over secure access service edge (SASE) is that it's made it easier to bring customers' IT and security teams together on SD-WAN discussions.

"We learned early on that security and SD-WAN go together – you can't extricate one from the other, you have to have the same conversation with those two teams in order for it to work and they have to work together," said Isch. He adds that now it's easier to discuss both networking and security with customers under the umbrella of SASE, even though the trend Gartner coined as SASE has been emerging for some time.

"To me, [SASE] is more of a formalization of what was happening rather than a brand new idea," said Isch.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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