Emerging SD-WAN Offers An Exciting Future For BusinessJason Siddall
Time is money. It’s an old adage, but one that has never been truer than it is today. SD WAN lets you save both.
Everyone wants everything now, no one wants to wait, and instant gratification is the expected norm. Nowhere is this more apparent than in business. Businesses today operate at ever-accelerating speeds to keep up with increasing customer expectations and demands. To remain competitive – in fact, to have any chance at all of success – you have to be instantly responsive. Everything runs on applications, and connectivity is at the epicentre of it all.
So many modern businesses have a wide geographical distribution, with numerous branches all over the country and internationally. All these branches are connected to a central hub. Traditionally, because of security concerns, application traffic based in the Cloud is often backhauled from a branch to the hub site, using WAN links, before being handed off to the Internet. This practice is both slow and expensive, and WAN bandwidth constraints at the branch concerned, coupled with frequent latency from the backhauling connection, significantly compromises overall performance.
With the emergence of SD-WAN, you get a secure, fast, reliable and flexible, cloud-based internet connection without expensive proprietary hardware or fixed circuits.
What Is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) is a virtual WAN architecture that uses a centralised control function to direct traffic securely and intelligently across the WAN. In other words, it uses software-defined networking (SDN) to find the most effective way to route traffic to remote locations. It can be used to manage multiple types of connections – such as broadband internet services, 4G, LTE and MPLS – to securely connect users to applications. Still not sure? Basically, SD-WAN is like traditional WAN on steroids!
Whereas previously, WAN connections relied on technology that needed special proprietary hardware, SD-WAN uses cloud-based networks. By removing their reliance on the router, your branches can be online in mere hours, instead of the weeks it traditionally takes to connect a traditional WAN service.
SD-WAN is designed to deliver exceptionally high-performance levels for applications such as Office 365, Dropbox, Workday and Salesforce.com that are hosted on public or private clouds. This is what separates it so significantly from traditional, router-centric WAN architecture.
Increased business productivity, reduced IT costs and, perhaps most importantly, a greatly enhanced user experience.
Benefits Of SD-WAN
In addition to those we’ve just mentioned, there are a host of other benefits to using SD-WAN.
Continuous Automated Adaptation
SD-WAN maintains the highest application performance and availability by monitoring WAN transport resources and automatically adapting to changing network conditions. Even during an outage or brownout, SD-WAN is still able to deliver a quality experience for end users, boosting productivity and customer satisfaction.
SD-WAN significantly simplifies operations while still making automation extremely secure and infinitely scalable. Now you can smoothly transition from hub-and-spoke to a direct-to-internet architecture. As networks respond to user demands for greater mobility, this becomes increasingly important, simplifying how traffic is routed in the branch, and enabling improved connectivity.
With SD-WAN, manual configuration is completely eliminated. Now you can provision and manage wide-area networks, campuses and data centres.
Faster Time To Market
The ability to leverage open APIs means you can deploy services and applications much faster than before. It’s also easy to integrate third-party products.
Cloud First Means Business First
When you adopt a cloud-first SD-WAN infrastructure, you harness the power of a network that enables your business, rather than your business having to perform within the constraints of the network.
Typically, WAN costs are about 10% of an enterprise’s overall IT budget. With SD-WAN, your WAN costs are reduced by between 50 to 90%! How is this possible? By leveraging all the available resources, including inexpensive Internet services, SD-WAN automatically selects options from a more cost-efficient choice of public Internet connections and private links. This means your business no longer has to pay for continuous bandwidth upgrades to guarantee a reliable connection.
SD WAN – The Cons
As with any emerging technology, there are bound to be some disadvantages and we’d be remiss to ignore them.
From a security perspective, SD WANs do not provide on-site functionality which, as we know, is an essential part of business today.
SD WAN is not a set and forget solution. You will also need a dedicated IT team who will be responsible for planning and design and well as implementation and ongoing maintenance of your SD WAN. Smaller businesses may simply find this element to be too costly for their pocket.
Of course, as fast and reliable as an SD WAN solution is, it too, is subject to poor performance depending on your infrastructure.
A Huge Advantage
At Huge Connect, we understand that a stable, reliable and always-on network is absolutely critical for any business in today’s highly competitive world. We also know that not everyone can afford the most technologically advanced solution for their needs.
While we eagerly anticipate a more user-friendly SD WAN solution, we will continue to provide small and large businesses alike with the always-up connectivity that we are so well known for.