Over the past five years, there have been significant advancements in increasing the level of agility and flexibility in the data center through software-defined networking (SDN). However, one part of IT that has yet to evolve and lacks flexibility is the enterprise wide-area network (WAN).
Evolving the WAN must be at the top of every IT and business leader’s priority list because organizations can only be as agile as their least agile IT component—which, today, is the WAN. If businesses are going to ever reach the level of agility required to compete in today’s digital world, now is the time for the WAN to evolve into a Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN).
Software‐Defined WAN, or SD‐WAN for short, is at the leading edge of software‐based networking deployments.
SD‐WAN offers significant business value for organizations with distributed branches in terms of business agility and the ability to leverage Internet bandwidth economics – put simply, cost savings.
The evolution of IT technologies has altered traffic flows within distributed organizations. Not only do remote users require significantly more bandwidth (for example, when using video), but they also need to directly access SaaS/cloud‐based applications such as Salesforce, Office 365, Lync and off‐premise storage (such as Dropbox, Evernote, and so on).
Traditional MPLS networks that transmit all traffic from the branch to a centralized data center can’t offer low latency/high-performance access to cloud applications. In addition, the security and management requirements associated with disparate traffic flows have added to the complexity of managing branch operations – thus increasing operational (staffing) costs for many IT organizations.
Traditional WAN design is based on multiple devices stacked in the branch office with soiled management and disparate WAN links connecting them.
Limited bandwidth of expensive private/MPLS circuits inhibits rollout and impacts performance of applications. At the same time, private/MPLS WAN redundancy is complex to deploy and manage.
With no direct access to cloud resources from the branch with the archaic hub and spoke network design, the traffic is backhauled through the enterprise datacenter with heavy performance penalties.
Application traffic over Internet links lacks SLAs for predictable performance. Every change in the application quality of service requires manual changes across the branches and the data center.
Traditional WAN includes a multitude of single-function devices and appliances connecting via different WAN links. This infrastructure sprawl causes the complexity of branch IT management.
In contrast, SD‐WAN provides a wide range of benefits for distributed organizations, including:
Internet connectivity (including cable, DSL and ethernet) is widely available, quick to deploy and a fraction of the cost of equivalent MPLS circuits. SD‐WAN provides the benefits of reliable, secure WAN service at Internet price points.
Rapid deployment of WAN services (such as bandwidth and firewall) to distributed branch operations without the need to send IT personnel on‐site. Bandwidth can be easily added (with additional circuits) or reduced as business requirements evolve.
✓Optimized cloud architecture.
SD‐WAN eliminates the backhaul penalties of traditional MPLS networks and leverages the Internet to provide secure, high‐performance connections from the branch to the cloud. With SD‐WAN, remote users will see significant improvements in their experience when using the cloud/SaaS‐based applications