In the current digital world, when new technology in areas, such as Microsoft Word or email processors, weeps in, adoption by businesses can be quite swift. Undoubtedly, some of this software can be game-changers.
One such good example is the SD-WAN architecture. The software is the networking solution of choice for most enterprises today, so much as that its current market value is more than $1.9 billion and is projected to reach $8.4 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.5% during the forecast period. Its criterion of functionality that ensures flexibility and performance while keeping operational costs low contributes to its growing popularity.
So, What Is SD-WAN?
Similar to a firewall, SD-WAN (or SDWAN), an acronym of software-defined networking (SDN) in a wide area network (WAN), is a network component that is deployed in line with the traffic flow to examine every passing pocket and take the necessary precautions.
It provides network solutions by interfacing with multiple WANs to improve speed, monitor performance, or route traffic to the best circuit. Besides, the software is very adaptable and can recognize and map hundreds of applications to traffic queues to adhere to predetermined application prioritizing standards.
This allows your company to route traffic from various applications over various channels, depending on their needs such as transmitting sensitive data from internal applications over secure MPLS connection and web browser activity over the public Internet.
How Does SD-WAN Work?
SD-WAN creates a virtual enterprise-wide-area network by abstracting networking options such as mobile, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), and broadband (WAN).
It has a software-driven architecture with a virtual WAN architecture and an SD-centralized criterion of functionality. What’s more, it separates network links, policies, security protocols, program flows, and general administration from the related hardware.
Data communications between offices are transmitted via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and funneled via the headquarters for security reasons. Typically, this kind of data link requires a high-throughput IP tunnel that is also reliable.
When a branch office communicates with the headquarter office through a single T1, DSL, or cable modem link, there may be inadequate throughput and speed – particularly when uploading data from the branch office to the main office.
A single broadband line at the branch office, on the other hand, would not provide the uptime that business-critical applications require. The architecture integrated into SD-WAN enables a high-speed IP communication framework between a local branch and headquarters – as well as across branch offices – even across broad geographic areas.
Besides, by combining access resources on either side, the two devices create a clear, high-speed data tunnel between the two offices.
What Is Main Difference Between SD-WAN and WAN?
A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a term used to refer to a network that is defined by software (or networking). On the other hand, a wide-area network (WAN) is a connection that connects two LANs (local area networks) separated by a significant distance — from a few miles to thousands of miles.
The term “software-defined” suggests that the WAN can be set up and operated programmatically. As a result, it may be swiftly changed to match changing needs.
Why Do You Need SD-WAN for Your Business?
Today, many companies are using the software-defined wide area network technology to solve a wide range of performance issues and networking connectivity to boost business returns.
Here are some of the benefits of integrating SD-WAN into your business.
1. Simplifies Management
SDWAN makes branch-level WAN services deployment quick and easy. Besides, SDWANs are quite easy to scale across multiple endpoints because they are built on a central cloud architecture. Whether in the cloud, at the branch edge, or in data centers, these network services can help companies streamline branch infrastructure.
Apart from that, with a single management interface, IT staff can automate zero-touch deployment globally. SD-WAN also provides services such as WAN optimization and reduces the number of network appliances needed.
2. Enhances Security
SD-WAN technology distributes security at the branch level by eliminating the need for data to return to a data center for additional security safeguards like firewall gateways or DNS compliance. SD-WANs also encrypt WAN traffic as it moves from one place to another. They divide the network into parts, limiting the amount of harm that can be done in the event of a breach.
Additionally, by allowing IT administrators to track the amount and types of traffic on a network, SD-WANs can help them detect attacks more quickly. They also provide additional protection by allowing the use of virtual private networks (VPNs).
3. Saves Money
This is, perhaps, one of the best things about SD-WAN automation. Users enjoy the benefits of a dependable, reliable WAN service with the low costs of the internet. Technically, broadband is less expensive and more versatile than a majority of MPLS carrier-grade links, which have costly contracts and long provisioning times.
Your company can use all available network connections to their maximum extent with SD-WAN technology instead of maintaining unused backup links.
4. Users Get Better Performance
SD-WAN technology applies the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to build a stable, high-performance connection, which significantly contributes to eliminating any penalties from backhaul associated with MPLS networks. Apart from that, it also enables organizations to conduct their activities at a lower cost while improving Software as a Service (SaaS) and other cloud-based services.
When using cloud/SaaS-based software, remote users usually experience lower network latency and faster connections.
Here are the main problems SD-WAN will solve for your business:
- Unpredictable performance of a public network
- MPLS costs and constraints
- Managing complex networks
- High operational costs
- Slow network
How Do I Choose the Right SD-WAN Deployment Model?
The most important step in selecting the correct SD-WAN solution for any given company is determining how they want to manage their SD-WAN at a high level. Given your company’s IT resources, what kind of assistance is required from the supplier?
For instance, large companies may choose to adopt a “do-it-yourself” (DIY) strategy to deploy and operate an SD-WAN network. Businesses that employ the DIY model acquire SD-WAN equipment directly from the manufacturer and implement and manage it in-house, providing them complete control and visibility over the network.
Technically, working with a managed service provider eliminates the need to spend time, money, and effort sourcing and retaining the necessary talents, as well as establishing an internal structure to provide 24/7 support.
After deciding on the type of service, the following step is to determine which features and capabilities are most important in meeting the business’s needs.
Is your company reliant on several cloud-based SaaS and IaaS apps from several cloud service providers? If that’s the case, search for a provider that supports multi-cloud and cloud-to-cloud connections.
Other important factors to consider include:
- Availability of security features such as next-generation firewall and encryption
- Network performance reporting and analytics features
- A centralized management portal
- Availability of load balancing to reduce network congestion
Final Thoughts: Is SD-WAN Automation Worth Your Money?
Yes, SD-WAN is worth every penny. It helps service providers reduce OSS integration complexity, supports multiple SD-WAN solutions, simplifies service lifecycle management, and reduces overall costs. And thanks to the automated workflow completed by the central controller, SD-WAN has zero-touch provisioning that not only eliminates the need to visit the branch site or set it up remotely via a command-line interface.
Therefore, there is no doubt that SD-WAN Automation will greatly benefit your business by paving the way to a broad suite of services, which is needed in today’s bandwidth-hungry and dynamic work.
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