What is SD-WAN? And Why SD-WAN Is Just Another Passing Trend

What is SD WAN: An SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) is a virtual WAN architecture that allows companies to use any combination of transport services, including MPLS, LTE and broadband Internet services, to securely connect to Users with applications.

What is SD WAN

An SD-WAN uses a centralised control function to route traffic safely and intelligently through the WAN. It increases application performance and leads to better user experience, higher business productivity and lower IT costs.

For example, a WAN can be used to connect branches to a central corporate network or to connect data centres separated by distances. In the past, WAN connections often used technologies that required specialised patented hardware. 

SD-WAN, on the other hand, uses the Internet or private cloud-native networks. SD-WAN decouples the net from the administrative layer and separates the traffic management and hardware monitoring functions. It is based on four key components:

  • Edge Connectivity Abstraction
  • WAN Virtualization
  • Policy-Driven, Centralized Management
  • Elastic Traffic Management

Why do you need SD-WAN?

As applications continue to transfer to the cloud, network experts quickly discover that traditional WANs have never developed for the cloud.

Applications are no longer hosted only in corporate data centres. They also housed in: 

  • Data centres on the premises
  • Public or private clouds
  • Subscription-based SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions such as Salesforce.com, Workday, Office365, Box, and Dropbox
  • The traditional router-centric model that transports branch traffic to the Internet centre and vice versa no longer makes sense.

Backhaul increases latency or delay, which affects application performance. It leads to bad user experience and a loss of productivity. Employees often report that their commercial applications run faster at home or on their mobile devices than at the office. Learn more about why it’s time to go beyond the router.

Geographically dispersed companies are using SD-WAN Services at an accelerating pace as they help companies become more agile, improve business productivity, and dramatically reduce costs.

Benefits of SD-WAN for companies

1.       Increase your business productivity and user satisfaction.

2.       Increase the flexibility and responsiveness of your company.

3.       Improve security and reduce threats.

4.       Simplify the branch’s WAN architecture

5.       Reduce WAN costs by up to 90%

Also Read: What you need to know about Social Media and Content Marketing

How does SD-WAN work?

SD-WAN for Cloud-First companies

How does a WAN SD enable the new Cloud First model? An SD-WAN uses software and a centralised control function to more logically control, or else direct traffic through the WAN. An SD-WAN processes traffic according to priority, quality of service and security requirements according to business needs. The traditional router-centric model distributes control to all devices on the network: routers only forward traffic based on TCP / IP and ACL addresses.

Sending SaaS and IaaS traffic directly through the Internet provides end-users with the best application quality. However, not all cloud or web traffic created in the same way. Many cloud applications and their providers use reliable security measures by default. Accessing these “trusted” applications directly from the branch via the Internet provides the security necessary to protect the business from threats. Some examples are Salesforce, Office365, ServiceNow, Box and Dropbox.

However, other applications in the cloud and web traffic may be less reliable, unknown or even suspicious, and require advanced traffic scanning. A sample security policy could be:

  • Send known and reputable SaaS businesses directly over the Internet
  •   Return untrusted, unknown or suspicious traffic, such as point-to-point applications, or traffic flow to or from a foreign country back to a next-generation firewall at headquarters.
  • Send applications like Facebook, YouTube and Netflix to a cloud-based security service

Intelligence and the ability to identify applications provide an application-driven way to route traffic through the WAN instead of merely using TCP / IP and ACL addresses. This software-based approach offers a much better QoEx than is possible with a router-centred WAN model.

Does SD-WAN affect the ROI?

Yes, SD-WAN dramatically increases ROI by improving the flexibility, performance, and efficiency of IT. Your ROI needs to be double-digit, and you’ll have to wait for break even within months of completing your implementation. Be sure to plan your roadmap with your SD-WAN Vendors and confirm that you can quantify the ROI for your custom use cases.

The price should not be in the foreground with SD-WAN. If you concentrate exclusively on the initial investment, you lose sight of the overall picture. It is the ROI you should achieve within a year of implementation.

Is SD-WAN secure?

SD-WAN can increase the security of your network through encrypted network traffic, network segmentation, the use of a centralised delivery system, better visibility on the WAN, and improved overall performance. You are segmenting your network limits attack damage to a manageable area. A centralised deployment system provides software that controls each separate node independently, allowing for better communication and connection between your network, unlike the traditional WAN configuration.

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Article Author Details

Chris Samson