SD-WAN is a software-defined (SD) networking approach to managing a wide area network (WAN). WAN is a telecommunications network that connects users over large distances; in this case, it refers to connecting a business’ branch locations to the head office. As businesses grow and require more connectivity, they need to do so while cutting costs and improving network management. When applied to WAN connections like broadband internet, 4G, or MPLS, SD-WAN allows for greater connectivity between data centers over long distances.
Why is SD-WAN so important?
Recently, there has been an uptick in the conversation around SD-WAN and more demand for it becoming the mainstream network for WAN connectivity. Let’s find out what the fuss is all about.
As companies grow, so do their number of employees, branches, and consequently their networks. A greater number of users (i.e. employees) want to access more applications from more locations, which are stored in multiple different clouds. SD-WAN allows for users to do this efficiently.
SD-WAN technology focuses on the user experience by providing you with the best path to navigate through network traffic. Additionally, it allows you to maintain network security by using software to have visibility over different user paths. This is why there is a lot of market hype around SD-WAN and why CIO’s and CTO’s are scrambling to have it as a part of their IT management toolkit.
What does SD-WAN have that other networking solutions don’t?
There is a reason that tech giants like Cisco and their friends are spending so much time and money designing solutions for SD-WAN.
In the past decade, we have used networking solutions like multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) to connect WAN’s, and while it has provided strong connectivity, bandwidth, and privacy, it is very expensive. On the other hand, there’s broadband internet which is inexpensive, but has issues with latency, and connectivity is not as reliable.
SD-WAN provides a simpler method to create a hybrid of these two; you get the cost effectiveness of broadband, and the connectivity of MPLS. What enables this is SD-WAN’s ability to centralize policy and traffic management.
Here are a few more business benefits:
- Extend WAN to multiple clouds simultaneously.
- Provide seamless network optimization for cloud platforms like Azure and AWS.
- Integrated security with threat protection and secure traffic flow.
- Centralized dashboard to manage WAN, cloud, and security.
- In depth reporting and monitoring of WAN performance.
SD-WAN provides a central hub for managing WAN traffic while providing security, greater connectivity, and an overall better user experience.