We explain in detail what SD-WAN is and what are the main benefits that this technology provides to small, medium and large companies.
Software-Defined Wide Area Network ( SD-WAN ) is an enterprise design approach that aims to optimize the use of resources in a company’s internal networks with the goal of improving your performance when routing traffic to remote locations.
SD-WAN allows us to organize our network traffic and manage hardware components centrally and through software.
In this article, we are going to explain to you how SD-WAN solves problems that usually occur in traditional networks, and what benefits this technology brings to SMEs and large companies.
The traditional WAN problem and its limitations
Before talking about why companies should consider adopting SD-WAN , it is important that we first explain what the traditional network implementation looks like we currently live with at the enterprise level.
Generally speaking, in the traditional WAN scheme we see diagrams that include a remote office (branch) from which users run different applications: e-mail services, ERP, files and company applications.
In most cases, all these services —including internet service— are housed in a Data Center installed at the company’s headquarters.
Because communication between the branches and the central house requires, due to its importance to the business, a high level of stability, this is generally done through MPLS links .
They guarantee a reliable connection, since the link is carried out only using the provider’s network.
- They are of quality, since the SLAs (Service-level Agreements) are high and the probability of failure is very low.
However, MPLS connections also have their downsides:
- These are high-cost connections.
- Its deployment is complex and its performance is often poor.
But that is not all.
The WAN architecture is typically limited between the enterprise, the branch, and the data center. As a company adopts cloud-based applications in the form of SaaS / IaaS , the WAN architecture experiences a traffic explosion when accessing these applications.
Today, it is very common for companies to use Cloud services such as Office 365, Dropbox, ZenDesk or G Suite, among others. The adoption of these services generates difficulties for the IT area, which must connect different types of users, through multiple devices, and to different Cloud environments.
As a result, performance issues appear, the user experience suffers, and expenses increase with inefficient use of dedicated and backup circuits. In turn, the additional openness to the Internet generates exposure to the main cyber threat and security problems.
SD-WAN, a centralized solution for IT problems
SD-WAN represents a significant change when it comes to sizing and thinking about the connections between our branches and towards the internet.
By implementing this technology, companies equip branch offices with a broadband connection that enhances the traditional WAN connection. At the same time, MPLS connections can be reserved for 100% critical applications only, such as IP telephony, video calls or business applications hosted at the headquarters.
When compared to a traditional WAN scheme, SD-WAN offers companies the ability to implement wide area networks one hundred times faster, and allowing savings of up to three times more in maintenance costs.
Optimized network usage
SD-WAN technology enables better application performance and smarter use of links. Since SD-WAN proactively verifies the availability and quality of the links to the cloud and to the central house, it allows making decisions about which is the best available connection at all times.
At the same time, SD-WAN significantly improves operational risk mitigation, ensuring business continuity . In this sense, the probability of being left without internet or access to the services of our headquarters is significantly reduced.
Better user experience
SD-WAN offers optimal performance for Cloud applications. In the event of a link failure or degradation, SD-WAN enables traffic to be dynamically routed between dedicated circuits and secure Internet connections to drive the delivery of business-critical applications.
Using SD-WAN all data is end-to-end encrypted, and communications are supervised by a fully manageable firewall. The SD-WAN architecture has distributed security at the branch level. Data does not travel back to headquarters or the data center for advanced security protection.
Finally, SD-WAN technology allows a reduction of up to 50% in costs in hybrid connection environments (that is, with traditional broadband and MPLS links). And in environments where MPLS connections can be replaced by broadband connections, the cost is reduced by up to 75%.
In addition, SD-WAN allows companies to start up new branches anywhere in the world, having as the only requirement an internet connection and a person who connects the equipment as it comes out of the manufacturer’s box, without pre-configurations.
Today, many companies have complex infrastructures at their branch offices, including routers, WAN route controllers, WAN optimizers, firewalls, and other components. All of these resources are expensive to buy and maintain, and complex to manage.
Considering that network connections are an indispensable resource for business, it is essential that their availability is optimal, constant, secure and reliable at all times.
At the same time, when the economic situation tightens our shoes, it is vital that a company can have technology in place so as not to incur unnecessary expenses.