Managed software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) services is a software approach to managing and controlling the underlying enterprise network technologies to optimize costs and application performance. Underlying technologies can include direct internet access (DIA), wireless, broadband, Ethernet, and multi-protocol label switching (MPLS).
SD-WAN abstracts control and management functions from the data or traffic flows, thus allowing the controllers and management mechanisms to be placed in the edge, cloud, or traditional data center. Like Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), SD-WAN has tunnels that connect end-user devices to the controllers where the “intelligence” of the software can define traffic routes, priority, and management. These tunnels are for management of the data plane, not the actual traffic/data itself.
SD-WAN allows enterprises to mix wired and wireless connections, directing traffic over the optimal network technology based on the application need. Overall, the growing mix of providers and technologies – and the complexities of managing them all – pushes enterprises to the managed services space for SD-WAN.
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