SD-WAN is a software-defined approach to managing the wide-area network, or WAN.
Key advantages include:
The traditional WAN function was connecting users at the branch or campus to applications hosted on servers in the data center. Typically, dedicated MPLS circuits were used to help ensure security and reliable connectivity. This no longer works in a cloud-centric world.
Times have changed. As businesses race to adopt the use of SaaS/IaaS applications in multiple clouds, IT is realising that the user application experience is poor. That is because WAN networks designed for a different era are not ready for the unprecedented explosion of WAN traffic that cloud adoption brings. That traffic causes management complexity, application performance unpredictability, and data vulnerability.
Further opening the enterprise to the Internet and the cloud exposes major threat and compliance issues. It is extremely challenging to protect the critical assets of an enterprise when applications are accessed by a diverse workforce, whose role access ranges from employee to partner, contractor, vendor, and guest. Enabling broadband in the WAN makes the security requirements more acute, creating challenges for IT in balancing the user experience, security, and complexity.
New business models drive the need for a new network model.
There is a new kind of WAN to address these challenges: SD-WAN. Software-defined WAN is a new approach to network connectivity that lowers operational costs and improves resource usage for multisite deployments. Network administrators can use bandwidth more efficiently and can help ensure the highest level of performance for critical applications without sacrificing security or data privacy.
The traditional WAN architecture was limited between enterprise, branch, and data center. As businesses adopt cloud-based application services in the form of SaaS/IaaS, their WAN architecture experiences an explosion of traffic accessing these globally diverse applications.
These changes in business models cause multiple implications for IT. Employee productivity is impacted by SaaS application performance problems. At the same time, WAN expenses rise with inefficient use of dedicated and backup circuits. IT is fighting the daily, complex battle of connecting multiple types of users, over multiple types of devices, to multiple cloud environments.
With SD-WAN, IT can deliver routing, threat protection, efficient offloading of expensive circuits, and simplification of WAN network management. Business benefits include: