As more and more businesses are adopting digital technologies to keep pace with rapid technological developments, it has become apparent that traditional network architectures are unable to meet the workloads and complexities of those digital solutions. Moreover, business-critical services are often distributed across multiple cloud networks, which puts these services at greater risk of network performance degradation, especially at branch locations.
In order to address these issues, one of the solutions is SD-WAN (software-defined wide-area networks).
What SD-WAN offers
SD-WAN is a virtual WAN architecture that utilizes software to control the connectivity, management, and services between data centers and remote branches or cloud instances across geographic locations.
While there are other systems that are able to perform some of the functionalities an SD-WAN offers, what makes it stand out, is its capability of supporting multiple connection types, whether it is MPLS, LTE, or regular internet, among others. As such, it can dynamically redirect to a more reliable connection in the event that a network is experiencing a poor connection or lack thereof.
An SD-WAN deployment can include existing routers and switches or virtualized customer premises equipment (vCPE), all running some version of the software that handles policy, security, networking functions, and other management tools, depending on specific vendor and customer configurations. With such capability, it can support multiple connection types such as MPLS, broadband, and LTE. It can also segment, partition, and secure the traffic traversing the WAN.
Benefits of SD-WAN
SD-WAN offers multiple benefits to its business users, the most important of which being the following:
SD-WAN simplifies WAN infrastructure by using broadband to off-load non-critical business apps, automating monitoring tasks, and managing traffic through a centralized controller and a simple interface so personnel can navigate the system more easily.
Because SD-WAN is able to automatically redirect connections to find the strongest and most reliable connection available, as well as provide multiple functionalities for the network, the typical routing and hardware costs are greatly reduced. while offering improved network performance and flexibility to access multi-cloud services.
Efficient management and visibility
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. It also provides an integrated and centralized view of the network that can be easily managed at scale. This means that as a business grows, users can add more functionalities while still remaining easy to use as before.
Efficient cloud utilization
Instead of routing traffic through the data center, SD-WAN enables direct cloud access at the remote branch, so team members can directly access cloud applications regardless of location without burdening the core network. What’s more, SD-WAN improves cloud application performance by prioritizing business-critical applications and enabling branches to directly communicate to the Internet.