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.