Are your employees working from multiple locations? Is your business adopting more and more cloud services or embracing a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy? Are you finding ways to control your bandwidth costs? Are you having trouble with sluggish connections, slow applications, or network congestion or outage? Do you need greater visibility and control of your network traffic?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) may just be what your company needs.
What is SD-WAN?
Just as its name implies, SD-WAN is a software-defined approach to managing a WAN. By identifying applications and monitoring networks in real time based on a centralized policy, SD-WAN can intelligently and dynamically optimize traffic flows in accordance with performance, cost, and other business needs. This is in contrast to the legacy Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) technique that directs traffic through static, predetermined routes.
Did you know that…?
- In 2018, Gartner said that SD-WAN is killing MPLS
- SD-WAN was named 2019’s most disruptive network technology
- The worldwide SD-WAN infrastructure and services revenues are projected to reach $8.05 billion by 2021, which is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 69.6%
- The SD-WAN market is expected to surpass $17 billion by 2025
What are the benefits of using SD-WAN?
#1 Network and application performance
Today’s business IT environment has greatly changed, with more and more companies using cloud services. The problem is traditional WAN models are not designed to handle the massive network traffic accessing computer services in the cloud. This results in network congestion and outage and application performance issues, which can negatively impact staff productivity and revenue.
SD-WAN, on the other hand, is designed to fully support both cloud and on-premises applications. With its real-time analytics, visibility, and control and dynamic traffic routing, SD-WAN can optimize performance for all apps, no matter where they are hosted. What’s more, since SD-WAN can recognize applications, it can prioritize latency-sensitive applications, such as voice and video chat.
#2 Application availability
SD-WAN can seamlessly leverage any WAN transport service, such as MPLS, broadband, and 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE). So even if one transport service fails, SD-WAN can easily move traffic over to available ones, which improves application availability. For example, if video conferencing apps fail to run over broadband, SD-WAN allows you to switch to 4G connections to have a more seamless call quality experience. This translates to higher productivity, better user experience, fewer IT support calls, and increased customer satisfaction.
In fact, more advanced SD-WAN platforms can use multiple WAN transport services to carry traffic for a single session. For example, a combination of MPLS and broadband can be used for video conferencing. In contrast, traditional WAN architectures are managed on separate networks on MPLS and broadband.
#3 Scalability and flexibility
Today’s network traffic has performance requirements that can be highly unpredictable. This can be problematic with the fixed level of bandwidth that legacy MPLS connections provide, forcing companies to lease an MPLS connection for their foreseen maximum traffic load scenario. This means that there may be a lot of time that expensive bandwidth is unused.
If you’re adding another business site, you’ll need to add another dedicated MPLS circuit. This requires investing in and installing physical devices. So if your bandwidth requirements drop, you’ll be stuck with hardware that you no longer use.
With SD-WAN, managing the WAN is centralized, allowing you to easily add or shut down a business site and only pay for what you’re using. You don’t even have to send IT specialists over to business sites for provisioning or purchase physical devices for traffic management since you can easily do either of these remotely using software. This allows you to quickly scale up or down your network requirements.
With SD-WAN’s centralized management, you can easily implement security solutions, protocols, and policies and monitor network traffic in real time across multiple sites. This is in contrast with traditional WAN solutions that handle security using multiple hardware at each branch office.
SD-WAN also allows you to segment traffic and create customized security measures for each segment. For example, traffic from the guest Wi-Fi can be isolated from the rest of the network and given stricter policies.
#5 Return on investment (ROI)
Achieving ROI with SD-WAN is much faster than with MPLS. To begin with, MPLS deployment is more complex, thus more time-consuming, often taking weeks or months as opposed to SD-WAN, which only takes days. Bringing a new branch site online can even be done in just minutes with no IT specialist on site. You don’t have to purchase several physical network devices per branch. This results in cheaper implementation costs for SD-WAN.
MPLS bandwidth is also much more expensive than SD-WAN’s public internet bandwidth. And since it’s a fixed bandwidth per branch, you’re likely paying for more than you’re actually using, unlike with SD-WAN.
Finally, SD-WAN’s centralized management reduces the need for a lot of network specialists. This significantly drives down operating expenses related to hiring, training, and deploying them.
Interested in implementing SD-WAN? Turn to the IT experts of Ubisec, a Cisco-certified partner that specializes in advanced security, data center, collaboration, and wireless technology solutions. We can efficiently deploy, monitor, manage, and optimize your WAN. Download our infographic to learn more. We cater to commercial, government, and enterprise markets in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Washington, DC.
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