Why Should My Company Consider SD-WAN?
The traditional wide area network (WAN) setups are struggling to cope with the increased demands for cloud computing, mobile usage, and data-intensive applications. This is where Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) comes into play. But what exactly is SD-WAN, and why should your company take it into serious consideration? Let’s dive in.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN is a transformative approach to networking that uses software-defined networking (SDN) concepts to manage and optimize wide area networks. The essence of SD-WAN lies in its ability to dynamically route traffic across the most efficient and performance-optimized paths. It abstracts the management layer from the hardware, giving unprecedented control and flexibility to network administrators.
At its core, SD-WAN is designed to:
- Increase network agility and responsiveness.
- Improve performance of applications, especially those hosted in the cloud.
- Reduce complexity and cost related to traditional WAN.
The Need for SD-WAN
Before we unpack the benefits, it’s crucial to understand the driving factors behind the shift towards SD-WAN:
Traditional WAN isn’t designed for the cloud. It typically routes all traffic — including that destined for the cloud — through a central data center. This roundabout routing can cause delays and decrease performance. SD-WAN, on the other hand, allows direct access to cloud services from any location, improving speed and user experience.
Data consumption is soaring, and businesses require more bandwidth than ever before. Traditional WAN often involves expensive proprietary hardware and MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) services. SD-WAN can route non-critical data over less expensive broadband connections, leading to significant cost savings.
Complexity and Management
Managing a traditional WAN, with its myriad appliances and protocols, can be complex and time-consuming. SD-WAN simplifies network management through a centralized console, making it easier to deploy, manage, and scale.
As cyber threats evolve, so must our network security strategies. SD-WAN offers enhanced security features, such as encryption and segmentation, to protect sensitive data over the internet.
Why Your Company Needs to Consider SD-WAN
Now that we understand what SD-WAN is and the motivations behind its adoption, let’s explore why your company might need it.
Enhanced Performance and Reliability
SD-WAN uses real-time traffic monitoring to ensure that critical applications get the bandwidth and path they require to perform optimally. If one link fails or becomes degraded, SD-WAN can instantly switch to a better one, maintaining uninterrupted service.
By allowing traffic to be routed over less expensive broadband connections where appropriate, companies can reduce their reliance on costly MPLS services. Furthermore, the ability to leverage a mix of services — including MPLS, LTE, and broadband — ensures that companies can optimize their expenditures based on their needs.
With SD-WAN, network administrators can manage the entire network through a single interface, regardless of the number of devices or their locations. This ease of management can reduce overhead and free up IT resources for other tasks.
As your business grows, your network needs to grow with it. SD-WAN solutions are typically delivered as a service, which means they can easily scale with your company, adding new sites or bandwidth as necessary without a major overhaul of your network infrastructure.
SD-WAN’s inherent security features, such as end-to-end encryption across the entire network and the ability to segment the network for controlled access, enhance your company’s security posture. Also, centralized control allows for uniform security policies and quicker response to threats.
SD-WAN improves the performance of SaaS and public cloud applications through intelligent path selection. It ensures that traffic is routed directly to the cloud, rather than backhauled through the data center, reducing latency and improving user experience.
In an age where agility, performance, and security are more critical than ever, SD-WAN is not just a nice-to-have — it’s a strategic imperative. Whether your company is looking to cut costs, improve application performance, enhance security, or simply prepare for the future, SD-WAN offers a compelling suite of benefits that traditional WAN solutions can no longer match.
Before making the switch, evaluate your current network infrastructure, bandwidth needs, cloud strategy, and security requirements. With this assessment in hand, you’ll be well-positioned to determine how SD-WAN can fit into your organization’s IT roadmap. If the seamless integration of your network and the cloud is a journey, SD-WAN might just be the vehicle you need to get there.