SD-WAN stands for Software Defined – Wide Area Networks. This system grew out of the routing technique called MPLS – Multiprotocol Label Switching. MPLS is a routing technique in telecommunications networks that directs data from one node to the next based on labels rather than network addresses. Whereas network addresses identify endpoints the labels identify established paths between endpoints. (Had enough tech talk?)
As internal networking has grown over the years the systems have become Software Defined Networks (SDN). SD-WAN can be seen as SDN for the WAN. It represents, arguably, the most popular and widely deployed use case in SDN. The SDN model became popular for abstracting network infrastructure in the data center and other sections within the enterprise perimeter. SD-WAN played a similar role but needed to abstract infrastructure elements that were diverse in terms of link types, providers, and geographies. Since it crossed the enterprise perimeter, it needed a robust security component as well.
The traditional model of backhauling all traffic from branch offices to the data center for robust security inspection is no longer optimal as it wastes a lot of bandwidth and adds latency, ultimately impairing application performance like VoIP. There is a real need for a better way to send traffic directly over the internet from branch locations to trusted SaaS and cloud-based applications while maintaining compliance with enterprise security mandates.
An SD‑WAN assures consistent application performance and resiliency, automates traffic steering in an application-driven manner based on business intent, improves network security, and simplifies the WAN architecture. An SD-WAN uses a centralized control function to steer traffic securely and intelligently across the WAN and directly to trusted SaaS and IaaS providers. This increases application performance and delivers a high-quality user experience, which increases business productivity and agility and reduces IT costs.
Top 5 Advantages of SD-WAN for Businesses today:
- Improves performance. Not all network traffic is created equal. Fortunately, SD-WAN can be configured to prioritize business-critical traffic and real-time services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and then effectively steer it over the most efficient route. By facilitating critical applications through reliable, high-performance connections, IT teams can help reduce network issues, thereby improving employee productivity, and boosting staff morale. This is performance with business impact.
- Increases security. Digital transformation is a double-edged sword. While it can improve customer satisfaction and extend market reach, it can also expose an organization to significant security risks. The good news is many SD-WAN solutions offer built-in security.
- Reduced complexity. Changes in the digital landscape can add layers of complexity to a network. The result is not only a risk of poor network performance but over-taxed IT teams and the need for locating onsite personnel at remote sites to manage the local IT infrastructure. Fortunately, SD-WAN can ease the IT burden by simplifying WAN infrastructure, using broadband to off-load non-critical business apps, automating monitoring tasks, and managing traffic through a centralized controller. Consider looking for an SD-WAN solution that can also be integrated into the local branch infrastructure to drive security and management deep into the local LAN.
- Enables cloud usage. Organizations are increasingly adopting cloud services and the good news is that SD-WAN enables direct cloud access at the remote branch, thereby eliminating backhauling traffic – routing all cloud and branch office traffic through the data center – meaning that workers can directly access cloud applications regardless of location without burdening the core network with additional traffic to manage and secure. What’s more, SD-WAN improves cloud application performance by prioritizing business-critical applications and enabling branches to directly communicate to the Internet.
- Reduces costs. As organizations deploy an ever-increasing array of cloud-based applications, the amount of data traveling over a WAN increases exponentially, increasing operating costs. Fortunately, SD-WAN can reduce this price tag by leveraging low-cost local Internet access, providing direct cloud access, and reducing the amount of traffic over the backbone WAN. According to an IDC survey (forecast), nearly a quarter of survey respondents expect SD-WAN cost savings of upwards of 39%, with two-thirds expecting more modest savings in the 5-19% range.
If you want to investigate SD-WAN for your organization, simply reach out to any of our team and ask about Millennia’s TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) analysis that can guide you on the path of SD-WAN!