Portland's very own Bigleaf Networks is a local company with a very bright future!
Joel Mulkey and Jeff Burchett founded Bigleaf Networks after gaining experience with SD-WAN and Internet Optimization as part of the Freewire team, based out of Portland, Oregon. The two make a dynamic duo with a strong tailwind in an industry ready to explode. I am excited to see what the next 3 years bring.
Joel, the mad scientist/networking wizard, has created a unique SD-WAN solution that minimizes impact on the client's network, while optimizing the bandwidth and performance of the circuits they have. Jeff brings a cultural strength and dedication to customer service and sales that only these unique founders can bring to the table. And Portland is due for a new star. It has been quite some time since a technology company made a big splash outside the usual suspects.
The SD-WAN Industry as a Whole
Software Defined networking is a newer concept in technology, allowing software to make intelligent decisions about routing, learning your preferences, and finding ways to improve performance. The technology is designed to allow network admins simpler ways to control and manage traffic across their network. Starting in 2015, SD-WAN or Software Defined Wide Area Networking began as a small off shoot of the SDN movement and has quickly become a focal point of change. SD-WAN addresses the crossroads our businesses face today – how are we designing our network for the future? Do we go Cloud or On Premise? Answer: both. SD-WAN products allow for this duality, and therefore they allow clients the freedom to run mixed-use environments without sacrificing in either direction. As the movement to the cloud continues, SD-WAN figures to be a central component in ensuring the cloud works for our businesses.
Looking to Enhace Public or Private Cloud with SD-WAN? Better be thinking"Cloud First"
Bigleaf leads with its "Cloud First" model. This is about building a network that prioritizes your cloud network, ensuring that uptime and performance is reliable. This is accomplished by using public IP's out of Bigleaf's data center and a local appliance on site coordinating the routing of data packets across your commodity Internet connections. Bigleaf has placed their datacenters strategically to ensure low latency to providers like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and SalesForce.com. This is a much different strategy than competitive SD-WAN products that aim to displace legacy MPLS networks with a new solution. This strategy is important but it’s overlooking the primary reason legacy MPLS is dying off, the applications we use are migrating away from our server room and into huge datacenters across the globe. Connecting to your server room is still important and is addressed using VPN you control with Bigleaf. But the company aims to be agnostic to security and your network preferences, allowing you local control of this critical component. "Cloud First" means that Bigleaf clients can migrate to the cloud without the risk of failure due to network performance.
The Importance of Same IP Failover
If there was an acronym equivalent to the four letter word, it would be the three letter acronym also known as the TLA. BGP falls into this category for most network admins. It’s something they must be familiar with, but most hate dealing with the finicky, complex service. For those who are unfamiliar, BGP allows you to failover your public facing IP addresses in the event of an Internet outage from the corresponding carrier. This solution allows outside parties to find your website, reach your service
center, or call you, but it does come with some caveats. Any active sessions are severed during the BGP transition, meaning all your IP based phone calls, video sessions, and web sharing will end abruptly. BGP recognizes a failure, but not necessarily degraded performance, so that phone call you are on might not be terminated, but it will sound like it should be. In comparison Bigleaf transitions between circuits seamlessly based on a wide variety of criteria including but not limited to outages. When the circuit your applications traditionally traverses begins having performance problems, the Bigleaf will intelligently re-route that traffic to a more stable connection. In the event of an outage, there is no waiting while BGP communicates with the carriers; the transition happens without losing that connection.
Bigleaf's unique algorithms are able to identify traffic that requires prioritization and ensures that both inbound and outbound traffic are respecting your real-time traffic like VoIP or Video. The service can identify packets by unique markers, routing this traffic ahead of noncritical traffic, thereby ensuring the quality of your experience. The key here is control in both directions. Some firewalls can control outbound traffic and some SD-WAN products claim to control both directions, but in our experience and testing, no one is doing it more effectively than Bigleaf. This control allows even organizations with a single circuit to see major improvements in voice quality.
As an experienced technology service provider, we are constantly evaluating technology, most of it being identified as a poor fit for our clients. As the industry shifted to Cloud solutions, Matrix Networks wanted to join the fray, but only if the performance of our solutions could be counted on. So when Jeff Burchett contacted Matrix Networks to discuss a new endeavor, he had no idea the wildfire he would soon create. After a quick discussion with Jeff, we realized this was the answer to our burning question: how do we make the cloud experience reliable? Bigleaf allowed us to sell the amazing tool sets available in the cloud without the frustration of poor performing Internet, and after testing we learned quickly that the product delivers on this promise.
Why did this matter to Matrix? Deploying cloud solutions without a network that matches can make the best of us look like fools, leaving our clients dissatisfied, and the vendor with egg on their face because the deployment went to hell in a hand basket (little known fact: no one knows where that expression came from). Sure, cloud based solutions can have terrible results for a variety of other reasons. A rookie project manager or an overzealous sales person who promises the moon and can't deliver. These scenarios are common, and we even cover the topic in other blog posts and resolve them with our services. More often than not, the real issue is the lack of intelligent network design. So as Matrix Networks began to steer more clients towards cloud based technology, a strategy for resolving network inconsistencies was imperative. Jeff and Joel were flashing a spotlight on this very solution and subsequently pushed over the first domino that began the course towards enablement of cloud solutions without sacrificing the critical on premise applications.
Innovative Leaders in SD-WAN Technology
Joel and Jeff saw the importance of Internet reliability and started Bigleaf before SD-WAN was a word, initially calling it Internet Optimization. The vision they share sets them apart -- a simple, plug and play network solution that delivers Internet like a carrier but respects the traffic and your business like a true
partner. The product is continually adapting and innovating, allowing for unique and powerful applications for connectivity using satellite or LTE. The pace of innovation is fast, but they never lose sight of that core principle of simplicity and ease. Bigleaf is a name we all should watch as they rise in this bourgeoning SD-WAN industry, making Portland tech proud as they lead the charge.
Next Article: Managing Multiple Locations? SD-WAN & VPN FTW!
Author: Kyle Holmes