What is SD-WAN?
Software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) use software to control the connectivity, management and services between data centers and remote branches or cloud instances. SD-WAN decouples the control plane from the data plane. Deployment can include existing routers and switches or virtual machines all running software that handles policy, security, networking functions and more.
One of SD-WAN’s primary advantages is its ability to manage multiple connections from MPLS to broadband to LTE. SD-WAN can also segment, quarantine and secure the traffic traversing a wide area network (WAN). At the end of the day, this is all meant to simplify the way organizations spin up new connections to their many branch offices, better manage the way those connections are utilized, and lower the organization’s total cost of ownership in the process. Gartner recently reported that “SD-WAN and vCPE are key technologies to help enterprises transform their networks from ‘fragile to agile.'”
How Does SD-WAN Work?
SD-WAN enables cloud adaptive enterprises to deliver a better application experience for its employees. Using intelligence and by identifying applications, software-defined wide area networks deliver unparalleled application awareness across the WAN. Each of these applications typically has its own access control policies depending on internal compliance requirements.
Secure local internet breakout oftraffic from the branch provides the highest levels of cloud performance while protecting the enterprise from threats. The conventional router-centric model distributes the control function across all devices in the network and simply routes traffic based on TCP/IP addresses and ACLs. This model tends to be rigid, inefficient and not cloud-friendly, resulting in a poor user experience.
The Advantages of SD-WAN
SD-WAN offers myriad benefits, which can be bucketed into three high-level categories:
- Agility: Speed matters more than almost anything else. Customers have high expectations and they want what they want when they want it. SD-WAN ensures enterprises with multiple branches are able to connect in an efficient and streamlined manner that satiates this desire for immediacy.
- Performance: Many businesses rely on their applications to be successful. If your application goes down, everything else subsequently falls apart. With SD-WAN, there’s increased application performance across the board. What does this mean? High availability with very predictable service; dynamically routed application traffic for improved user experience; and greater consistency at all application touchpoints.
- Management: SD-WAN simplifies everything from a management perspective and makes fconnectivity easier for everyone involved. And with fewer issues comes greater reliability.
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