Traditional WAN architectures that rely on MPLS can be complex to manage. They can also need more agility to support cloud applications. With SD-WAN, IT can easily add capacity using affordable links like Ethernet Internet and broadband, or even cellular broadband. It can also centrally manage security and networking from a single portal.
Enterprises around the globe are now exploring the basics of SD-WAN and how to integrate it into their systems.SD-WAN allows security functionality to be applied at the network edge rather than the data center. This reduces latency and congestion and improves application performance at the remote office and cloud sites. Basic solutions allow for redirecting application-based traffic over the best available path. When underperforming links are detected, the connection is switched to a better-performing link with seamless failover. This can reduce jitter, packet loss, and latency, increasing application performance and user experience quality.
However, the network is always optimized and secure with a business-driven SD-WAN solution integrating networking and security functions as a single, cloud-delivered service. This allows for a secure, consistent Internet breakout from the data center to all remote offices and locations while keeping traffic separate from other business traffic.
A business-driven SD-WAN can also secure local internet breakout for SaaS, IaaS, and UCaaS and automatically categorizes cloud applications based on IP addresses, eliminating the need to update application definitions and ACLs manually. This ensures consistent application performance and eliminates the interruption of cloud apps that can disrupt employee productivity.
When connecting remote offices to primary data centers, SD-WAN offers a flexible way to increase bandwidth efficiency, reduce latency and improve the quality of experience. These capabilities converge with security services to deliver a complete and secure SD-WAN solution.
The technology is agnostic to the switching protocols that route traffic across the WAN, and it uses information about each application to assign a path to data. This allows for a higher level of automation that isn’t limited to simple routing or QoS. Rather than waiting for an outage and taking a reactive approach, business-driven SD-WAN continuously monitors underlay transport services to detect issues. Then, the system can automatically switch to a backup connection without interrupting application use. This dramatically reduces outages and the time to recover from them. It also reduces reliance on MPLS by sending low-priority traffic over cheaper public Internet links while reserving private connectivity for high-performance and latency-sensitive applications.
A business-driven SD-WAN solution integrates connectivity, application performance, security, and WAN optimization into a single platform. It automates and orchestrates policy definition, delivers centralized management with a single pane of glass, and provides the visibility and control needed for achieving desired business outcomes.
It enables organizations to identify sites with bandwidth requirements and prioritize applications for efficient routing across a smart hybrid WAN using low-cost connections (broadband Internet, 5G/LTE) and higher-performance MPLS circuits. This allows IT to route non-critical and critical apps over the Internet over a private, high-performance connection.
Unlike basic SD-WAN solutions, which only offer some application classification capabilities based on fixed definitions and manually scripted ACLs to direct SaaS and IaaS traffic to the Internet, a business-driven SD-WAN automatically identifies and classifies cloud apps continuously. This results in an end-to-end WAN architecture that eliminates application interruption and productivity issues.
A business-driven SD-WAN also intelligently monitors and manages all underlay transport services. During an outage or poor performance, it redirects traffic on an application basis to avoid costly re-routes that can cause service degradation and lost productivity. As a result, it can deliver consistent QoEx, even during an extended outage, and enable fast failover times that avert application interruption or latency. This allows a business to optimize traffic across a smart hybrid WAN to improve application performance, WAN optimization, and cost efficiency.
SD-WAN centrally controls and manages a network’s configuration from a single dashboard by eliminating the need for router-based lookups on multiple networks. This reduces network management complexity, speeding up the time to make changes. It also helps free up engineering staff to work on more business-enriching projects. Built-in resilience also reduces network downtime, enabling productivity and customer satisfaction. An hour of downtime can cost enterprises millions in revenue and productivity loss. A robust SD-WAN with diverse access and a cloud security component enable organizations to operate normally, even if a primary connectivity medium fails. A flexible WAN architecture sends data across different connection types, such as MPLS, DIA, broadband Internet, and LTE. An SD-WAN can automatically select the best route packet-by-packet basis by analyzing application traffic. It can also prioritize and segment traffic to ensure critical applications always receive priority.
Many SD-WAN vendors offer a variety of deployment models to suit an organization’s needs. A DIY option enables the IT team to independently deploy and manage an SD-WAN. Fully managed SD-WAN shifts deployment, management, and the underlying infrastructure to the vendor. Co-managed options combine an organization’s ownership of the virtual overlay with a third party providing last-mile connectivity to their cloud services or another carrier backbone.