The SD-WAN buzz has many excited about new advances in networking technologies, but what is SD-WAN really? What can it do for your network? And why all the SD-WAN excitement? Here’s a quick introduction.
SD-WAN stands for software-defined wide area network. In these WAN environments, software-defined networking architectural models or principles have been applied to turn the control layer of a network that was once all hardware into software. This simplifies WAN management and traffic routing, making provisioning less manual and more programmatic for IT managers. SD-WAN when implemented correctly delivers superior performance, scalability, and visibility.
Optimize Application Performance: The SD-WAN hype is around the ability to manage different types of network connections and maximize bandwidth across all. Instead of separate bandwidths allotted on each connection, SD-WAN allows the enterprise to combine and simultaneously use all available bandwidth across all connections, putting resources where they are needed most.
Simplify Network Scalability and Management: For enterprises with many connected locations across the globe, SD-WAN makes the network infrastructure modular and extensible so it’s fast and easy to scale up or down. It also acts as a single point of management, giving IT teams greater visibility into usage or bottlenecks and giving them the power to prioritize bandwidth allocation for their most critical business applications. The end result: enhanced network agility, performance, and control.
Software-defined architectural models can be applied to lots of different IT technologies. With SD-WAN it’s applied to wide area networks, but it can also be applied to virtual private networks, data centers, and networking capabilities–hence the name software-defined networking (SDN). As a more broad term, SDN can include network function virtualization as well as other capabilities.
With legacy networks, IT teams must individually configure and reconfigure network equipment, reroute traffic, and change protocols. Everything is a manual, piece-by-piece process, increasing costs and the complexity of management. When more and more business applications are moving to the cloud, legacy networks are not positioned to support cloud-first strategies. Key challenges include:
The first decision is whether to purchase a self-managed enterprise solution or go with a managed service provider. With in-house networking expertise, you may be comfortable with an enterprise solution you fully own and manage, but managed service providers can also implement and manage an SD-WAN solution for you.