Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is the only new WAN technology to have arrived in recent years. This is a new class of WAN solution that has advantages for businesses of all sizes. Here’s a guide to what it is as well as how it could help your business.
SD-WAN is WAN’s most recentcapability. WANs are used to connect networks, including data centres and branch offices, over large distances. Before SD-WAN was developed, WAN connections relied on proprietary hardware. SD-WAN takes a software approach to move more of the network control into the cloud.
When you have an SD-WAN architecture, this allows you to connect your branches and data centres and improve the performance of your network. SD-WAN is also very quick to configure onto your infrastructure, and this can bring large savings.
"When you have an SD-WAN architecture, this allows you to connect your branches and data centres and improve the performance of your network. SD-WAN is also very quick to configure onto your infrastructure, and this can bring large savings." - Joanna Wells.
There are many advantages to using SD-WAN, whichis why so many organisations are moving their IT infrastructure to it.
Businesses increasingly want WAN technologies that are openand flexible. They want to move away from proprietary WAN technology with its fixed circuits and high expenses to cloud-based solutions. SD-WAN allows organizations to take advantage of WANs with higher performance using low-cost internet access, replacing private WAN connection technology like MPLS.
The major benefit is the cost. As mentioned, it can provide your organisation with a quick and easy way to configure your infrastructure so you can immediately save money. Also, with SD-WAN, there is no need for a smart router. Routing hardware can be expensive, but SD-WAN provides connectivity via the cloud.
On top of that, there are the performance benefits to consider. Quite simply, SD-WAN provides a better experience for users, and this is another big reason why organisations want to use it.
SD-WAN is also flexible. You can customise the connectivity and bandwidth to set up your network in the best way for your infrastructure to meet your requirements exactly. SD-WAN connectivity is often controlled with cloud software, and this allows the user to increase connectivity to meet demand.
It also has security benefits. Encryption of network traffic and segmentation of the network means it provides better security when you send files.
It is also a great option for connecting your different teams based in different locations and improving communication speeds.
Naran McClung, Group CTO at Viatek, says: "The key benefit of SD-WAN is that it gives organizations trust in their connections, and in the services that are being delivered to them over the wire. That trust derives from three aspects: connectivity cost, resilience and performance.
"From a cost perspective, organizations can now enjoy greater bandwidth, reliability and quality of service without having to necessarily pay for business-grade internet services or dedicated fibre connections of the past. For smaller businesses, this means that more cost-effective consumer-grade services combined with SD-WAN will give them the enterprise-grade connectivity options they need. The key factor in this is resilience; if the connection goes down or has a significant drop in performance, the software will kick in and automatically fail-over to another connection, such as a cost-effective stand-by 4G service, until the main connection is operational again.
"The third main benefit of SD-WAN is traffic management, where you can make decisions about what types of traffic need to be prioritised over the network – services that require low latency or are critical to your operations – or require quality of service, like voice – as well as ensuring the most efficient routing of data traffic over the wide area network."
Looking at the benefits, you might decide that SD-WAN is ideal for your organisation. But there are a number of considerations that you have to keep in mind when it comes to deployment.
Firstly, how you deploy it will depend on various factor ssuch as your organisation’s size and where your branches are located.
You will also have to decide how you want to manage it –whether in-house or delivered as a service. In-house is typically slower to deploy and you also don’t enjoy the same convenience of having your provider manage it for you.
Then there is the decision of going with an internet-based SD-WAN deployment or choosing a global private network. Both have benefits.Internet-based is often enough for businesses with branches in a local area,but global private network may be preferable for global organisations, where it can provide better security and faster response times.
SD-WAN has many benefits, but there are also lots of considerations to keep in mind before you deploy it in your organisation. If you determine that SD-WAN is the right option for your business, start planning your deployment as early as possible and take advantage of all the benefits it provides.