When the cloud-hosted applications dot the sky like stars and the employees are scattered light years away, modern organizations may need to meditate on their wide area networks. It seems like SD-WAN may be the “new hope” – right now, in a galaxy not so far away…
The massive trend of cloud-hosted applications and adoption, coupled with the rapid disruption and displacement of the workforce globally, has put new pressures on enterprise networks, especially across the wide area network.
WAN transport technologies like MPLS, broadband, VPN, and newer LTE/5G that you may be using today, provide the basic bandwidth that delivers applications to your users. This is done by interconnecting your campus, branch and data center networks, or to end users directly, over a wide area.
But we all know that delivering business continuity and consistent experience in today's world requires more than just expensive bandwidth. Expectations for maintaining business continuity by providing applications to your employees and customers, no matter where they're located, securely, but with limited IT resources, may sound like going against the Death Star.
How does SD-WAN work?
SD-WAN stands for software-defined wide area networking. Long story short, SD-WAN decouples the network hardware from the network control mechanism, simplifying operations and management and allowing companies to build highly scalable WANs with cheaper, more flexible connectivity.
Traditionally, organizations connected their distributed locations with expensive, dedicated multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) lines, which were highly resilient but sometimes very slow to install. SD-WAN allows companies to rapidly connect branches using standard broadband internet services, while solidifying secure user-to-application connectivity, whether the network is MPLS, broadband internet or LTE/5G.
SD-WAN can ride over the top of the existing WAN circuits, completely agnostic of these WAN transport methods, to unlock consistent quality of service (QoS), centralized cloud-based network management and control. By providing dynamic, policy-based, application path selection across multiple WAN connections and supporting service chaining for additional services such as WAN optimization and firewalls, SD-WAN can help reduce costs AND mitigate security risks.
Explore the concept of the Infinite Enterprise
4 reasons why you might want to consider SD-WAN
SD-WAN is a tried and true, trusted cloud onramp for the enterprise. The below are several reasons why we’re seeing such a rapid SD-WAN adoption these days.
- Your business is rapidly expanding or diverse geographically. When one retail store grows to 10 then 100, the network needs to scale, but more importantly company policies and protocols must extend as well. SD-WAN makes it possible for your new branch office or retail location to fall under the same umbrella. Centralized management supports accelerated branch deployment, with zero touch (or low touch) provisioning, your organization can enjoy cloud-based networking in a matter of hours.
- Your organization is looking toward cloud migration. If 2021 was a wordmap, cloud would be front and center in boldface type. Legacy WAN architectures are not equipped for modern application delivery. The traditional model of hosting applications in a centralized data center cannot offer the efficiency of SD-WAN, which was designed to support the specific demands of the cloud.
- Your Quality of Service (QoS) doesn’t quite cut it. If your business suffers from frequent network disruptions, SD-WAN is a perfect solution for meeting those elusive Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and delivering application control. QoS starts with network visibility, empowering IT with the ability to prioritize mission critical applications and rapidly troubleshoot network issues. Furthermore, SD-WAN enables admins to set SLAs for each application, and in leveraging application based routing ensures an exceptional end user experience.
- You’re not quite sure how secure your WAN really is. Software defined wide area networking can radically solidify your security posture. Firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), for example, is cloud delivered, always up-to-date and works in tandem with a unified orchestration platform to optimize performance while reducing overall cost.
May the force of SD-WAN be with you!
As technology continues to change, organizations whose strategies feature SD-WAN as part of a broader cloud initiative will overcome the challenges beset by the
Empire pandemic and evolved ways of working.
If you’d like to learn more about SD-WAN, how to implement it within your environment and how Extreme Networks can help you improve network security AND application performance, head to our SD-WAN solution page!