SD-WAN is an architecture that allows IT teams to overcome the limitations and tradeoffs of traditional WAN connections. It offers the centralized control, flexibility, and visibility that IT leaders need.
SD-WANs use dynamic path selection to determine the best route for application traffic, reducing costs and improving performance and resilience. This makes them more efficient for connecting branches, data centers, and cloud/SaaS applications.
With SD-WAN, there’s no need to deploy expensive MPLS lines at every office location. Instead, you can connect each site to the WAN using low-cost Internet connections that provide secure networking. For instance, when a branch office experiences an outage, an SD-WAN solution can automatically switch to another network link. This provides sub-second failover without interrupting business-critical applications.
So, what does SD-WAN stand for? A business-driven SD-WAN also simplifies network management through centralized control. This centralization allows you to monitor your WAN edge devices through a single dashboard view and quickly find problems that arise. This significantly reduces the time it takes to resolve issues that could be incredibly difficult to find.
The system also improves bandwidth efficiency through application prioritization and dynamic best-path routing. In addition, it reduces costs by eliminating unnecessary traffic over the WAN. This includes offloading less critical traffic from MPLS to Internet connections while directing all critical application traffic over the same link.
Finally, SD-WAN offers greater agility to businesses when it comes to opening new branches. You can rapidly ship Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) appliances to remote locations that allow them to connect over existing Internet or cell connectivity, reducing the cost of securing those locations to your network. In addition, SD-WAN eliminates the need for IT personnel to visit remote areas to configure routers when you make policy changes manually. This enables you to save on the cost of having IT staff at each location and increase your overall operational savings.
The traditional WAN architecture involves backhauling all traffic (including cloud-destined applications) from branches to headquarters, causing latency and impacting application performance. SD-WAN eliminates this by prioritizing and routing traffic based on business intent, providing an excellent experience for work-from-home employees or customers using a company app.
An example is an insurance company that wants remote workers to use their website or mobile apps but needs to ensure the site-to-site connections are secure. With an SD-WAN, the network can prioritize work-from-home traffic and route it over the most reliable and cost-effective links. This means a better user experience for employees without compromising security.
For companies with multiple offices, an SD-WAN can also provide security integration and central management to reduce the time spent troubleshooting problems at branch locations. This is made possible by separating networking and security functionality, eliminating the need for separate appliances at each site, and enabling centralized visibility and management of the entire enterprise network.
Lastly, an SD-WAN can improve reliability by aggregating multiple ISP and WAN connections and using the business-grade private backbone of the service provider to avoid the latency issues associated with the public Internet. This provides sub-second failover in a transport outage, protecting against interruptions to critical business applications. The key is to find an SD-WAN provider that offers integrated security and managed services for a holistic solution.
By enabling a secure, cloud-based delivery model, SD-WAN makes deploying and managing network hardware easier. It also increases flexibility, allowing for a dynamic approach to bandwidth utilization and enhancing application performance. This is especially critical for businesses that rely on IaaS and SaaS applications.
Unlike traditional networking approaches, SD-WAN can leverage many transport technologies. This includes MPLS, broadband Internet, 4G/5G, and satellite links. This allows for a more robust, cost-efficient, and reliable connection between branch offices and the data center. Moreover, it can improve the performance of cloud-based applications by bypassing backhauling traffic and prioritizing their performance.
Additionally, SD-WAN provides enhanced control by centralizing management across a single dashboard view. This makes it much easier for IT teams to troubleshoot possible issues. By enabling a more dynamic approach to bandwidth utilization, SD-WAN also helps businesses to increase uptime by automatically diverting traffic when problems occur.
Ultimately, SD-WAN is an excellent choice for transforming your network architecture. The technology eliminates the need for expensive MPLS connections and streamlines network hardware management with centralized control and zero-touch provisioning. Moreover, it offers scalability for thousands of locations and delivers advanced security features at the WAN edge. With all of these benefits, it’s no wonder why SD-WAN is revolutionizing how businesses manage their networks.
As machine learning improves, SD-WAN solutions will continue automating manual tasks and simplifying operations. By automatically identifying and selecting the best path for data packets to travel, SD-WAN eliminates human error and enables faster operations while increasing quality of service. This allows organizations to scale and simplify as their topology grows.
For example, a restaurant chain might need to connect to its central system that processes credit cards for Point of Sale terminals at each location. They can use a simple SD-WAN appliance to connect each place over existing Internet or 4G/5G cell connectivity without paying for leased lines, reducing costs.
Similarly, the traditional way of connecting a branch office to HQ with MPLS can be costly and slow, especially for remote locations. With SD-WAN, you can easily use different connections — including MPLS, broadband internet, and LTE — to create a more resilient WAN that supports higher performance and reliability.
SD-WAN also provides built-in redundancy and scalability by reducing the dependency on single points of failure. By using multiple connections and ensuring priority and optimization over these links, SD-WAN offers greater flexibility to address various business challenges.