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  1. Driving Business Agility Through SD-WAN

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    Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solutions are changing the IT infrastructure for businesses nationwide, allowing them to do more than ever before with one centralized platform. DQE recently published an eBook diving into the many benefits of SD-WAN. In this blog post, we’ll examine the highlights.

    What is SD-WAN?

    A Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a virtual WAN architecture that allows businesses with multiple sites to manage their network traffic from one main location. Centrally managed and cloud-friendly in its functionality, an SD-WAN offers businesses unique advantages in directly connecting users to any application whether it is hosted in on-premise data centers or private/public clouds. Conventional WAN scenarios are already ideal for traditional business needs involving higher bandwidth and data-intensive applications, but they typically require more manual monitoring, resulting in reduced productivity and efficiency for a company’s employees. Fortunately, evolving to an SD-WAN deployment can give enterprises an added advantage in network management as they adopt new communication, collaboration and business intelligence tools.

    SD-WAN virtualizes legacy WAN services. With SD-WAN, IT teams can use a centralized network management software interface to direct traffic across the WAN and scale across multiple locations. By separating a network’s hardware from decisions about traffic management, an SD-WAN can provide businesses with a centralized, cost-effective and secure way to improve application performance.

    SD-WAN adoption

    As more businesses increase dependence on cloud computing, the adoption of SD-WAN solutions is expected to grow. According to International Data Corporation, SD-WAN is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 30.8% from 2018 to 2023, reaching $5.25 billion. While traditional WANs will continue to meet the needs of businesses with more traditional point-to-point connectivity needs, SD-WANs will be ideal solutions for businesses shifting to the use of SaaS and for those adopting more machine learning, artificial intelligence, unified communication services and more.

    Ready for SD-WAN

    As a leading provider of fiber optic network solutions, DQE is always innovating and finding new ways to support the needs of our customers. Recognizing the growing demand for SD-WAN solutions, we offer a unique SD-WAN Managed Service that gives businesses the ability to obtain the flexibility and efficiencies of SD-WAN without the challenges of self-configuring the infrastructure and network connections.

    DQE’s SD-WAN Managed Services monitor and manage all software updates while providing customers with enhanced visibility and control through an online web portal. SD-WAN services can be integrated into an existing infrastructure as an overlay, easily providing interconnection between multiple sites, cloud services or offsite data centers. We also offer support for companies with remote branches outside of our extensive fiber optic network footprint. DQE’s SD-WAN Managed Services makes it easy for customers to scale and add new locations on their terms.

    Download our ebook today or contact us to learn even more about our SD-WAN services.

  2. SD-WAN and MPLS – Better, Together

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    SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) is a fast growing network architecture that allows organizations to gain control of their network by providing the ability to connect remote locations across multiple sites, cloud services or offsite data centers. This solution continues to grow, with no sign of slowing down. According to Silver Peak, 90% of surveyed companies expect to implement SD-WAN within the next twelve months.

    SD-WAN addresses challenges of MPLS such as network visibility and resiliency. In the marketplace, SD-WAN has been sold as the ultimate solution to business’s network needs. However, the introduction of SD-WAN does not negate the value of MPLS. In fact, MPLS and SD-WAN compliment each other and work best, together.

    SD-WAN Advantages

    The rise of SD-WAN is largely because of the increased use of cloud applications. SD-WAN provides a flexible and scalable way for organizations with geographically dispersed locations to handle their network traffic. This allows users to save time and money while controlling traffic. SD-WAN is able to provide faster service provisioning, the business agility to adjust to market dynamics, and the ability to dynamically tailor to specific application needs. Overall, SD-WAN will increase application performance, which will lead to enhanced business productivity at a lower cost for IT.

    MPLS Advantages

    Meanwhile, MPLS offers reliable delivery of packets and provides a high quality of service. This is a big advantage for organizations that rely on real-time protocols. MPLS is able to use big and powerful connections to connect large data centers together.

    MPLS can impact costs as the need for bandwidth increases. According to the IDC, Enterprise organizations are expected to increase their bandwidth needs by double every 3 years. Flexibility and cost control will be important to organizations as bandwidth needs increase, and using MPLS alone could result in increased bandwidth costs.

    SD-WAN & MPLS Together

    Both SD-WAN and MPLS have complementary advantages to them. SD-WAN is able to use existing infrastructure and augment with provided services. It works together with MPLS technology and addresses some of the limitations of MPLS. SD-WAN is an overlay technology defined by software, while MPLS sits underneath to provide transport services.

    You do not have to choose between SD-WAN or MPLS. In fact, utilizing both will provide a complimentary network architecture to support your business today, and in the future.

  3. Meeting Your Growing Data Needs: SD-WAN Can Help Your Organization Thrive

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    Managing data-intensive workloads across multiple office sites while increasing management control – this is a key challenge facing today’s CEOs, CIOs and IT managers. In our digital age, the reliability and availability of an organization’s network are fast becoming key pillars of any successful growth strategy. Software-defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) can play a key role in providing businesses with an easy-to-use, centralized management platform to monitor and control traffic flow. In this blog, we look closer at SD-WAN’s benefits.

    Challenge of Legacy WANs

    Companies today are beginning to use applications that put an ever-increasing demand on network resources. Increased adoption of data-intensive tools like voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP), real-time video collaboration, cloud services and IoT devices can put a strain on legacy WAN traffic management techniques.

    While some routing techniques work well with traditional networking models where traffic is sent to an organization’s centralized headquarters, it does not work as well with the new model of business where disperse office branches need fast access to the cloud and real-time collaboration tools.

    Benefits of SD-WAN

    SD-WAN provides a flexible and scalable way for organizations with multiple sites to manage their network traffic. Simply put, SD-WAN relies on a single interface, typically cloud-based, to separate a network’s hardware from decisions about traffic management. As a result, SD-WAN provides an attractive alternative as it is largely application based, and policies can be built to ensure critical apps are provided optimal paths for cloud services. Whereas with standard WANs, network administrators would have to physically adjust switches and routers in response to decisions about traffic prioritization, with SD-WAN, this functionality is virtualized through the central management platform. This high level of user control allows enterprises with geographically-disperse locations to save time and money in controlling their digital traffic flows.

    Additionally, SD-WAN offers advantages when it comes to security and resiliency – a key point for organizations looking to replace MPLS and other legacy architectures. Cloud-delivered SD-WAN offers built-in security with policy-based routing that can be easily configured by an organization’s IT team depending on their needs. Whereas connecting different users with different device types to a network can get complicated with legacy WAN architectures, SD-WAN simplifies this process, promoting the security and resiliency of a company’s network. In the end, increasing the reliability and performance of a geographically-disperse network through SD-WAN adoption can help businesses operate more efficiently.

    How SD-WAN Can Work For You

    Let’s move past the technical and take a look at how SD-WAN can work for your business. For example, we see many multi-site, disperse locations in the healthcare or financial industries that have diverse networking traffic needs, encompassing the use of voice services, connections to software providers, interconnection between office branches and access to cloud-based emails. All of these workloads will have different weights of importance when it comes to prioritizing how traffic is routed. Here, SD-WAN deployments allow these types of organizations the ease and flexibility of using an internet-based application to shape and prioritize traffic, thereby ensuring reliable network functionality.

    This is the bottom line: a reliable network is crucial to the success of organizations across a variety of verticals. Having multiple streams to the internet and a reliable network is essential for business success regardless of vertical.

    Getting Into the SD-WAN Market

    Selecting an SD-WAN partner is not unlike how many clients make other telecommunications decisions. Each provider and equipment vendor offers similar features but how they implement those features and how they are managed can all be fairly unique to each vendor. The SD-WAN solution you pick should be a good fit for the organization and have some flexibility in the activation of its features – ultimately, the customer should be able to maintain control over their network, and do so easily.