Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN): The new landscape of networking

More users.
 More apps.
 More devices.

An influx of data and devices are pushing the limits of traditional WAN architectures, making it nearly impossible for networks to keep up. IT departments are trying to increase bandwidth and improve connectivity, but they can’t do it alone. Enter Cisco SD‑WAN.

With the power of software-defined networking on the WAN, businesses can improve performance, reduce costs and enable robust security. It’s a cloud-scale, software-driven architecture that routes traffic around problems, ensures application performance and adapts to changing conditions — all without direct IT intervention.

Office 365 performance continues to be a problem for many enterprises.

Harness the power of the cloud.

Today, your network has to work harder than ever to deliver the required user experiences over the cloud. With Cisco SD-WAN, you can enable applications in minutes, on any platform, with consistent, predictable performance. SD-WAN helps you optimise your wide area network, which means better experiences for customers and employees.

In a single overlay that extends to data centre, cloud and branch locations, Cisco SD-WAN optimises software-as-a-service (SaaS) performance for Office 365, Salesforce and other cloud-based apps. It also delivers seamless connectivity to the public cloud to simplify workflows for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure and more — including application-aware policies that allow real-time policy enforcement for cloud and on-premises solutions. A healthcare company saw a fivefold improvement in its Office 365 performance after SD-WAN.

Network traffic is growing 30% year over year.1

Grow more, spend less.

Bandwidth is expensive enough as is, and network traffic shows no signs of slowing down. What if you could get simplified management and operations while lowering costs and increasing agility? Cisco SD-WAN offers faster, easier deployments and operations, as well as better performance. Now you can get more bandwidth for less cost.

Combine Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) with low-cost broadband services using a hybrid WAN approach, and save time rolling out new services and branches. Centralised management and built-in automation simplify workflows to increase efficiencies even further. IDC found that enterprises got an average 33% more efficiency in WAN management with Cisco SD‑WAN.¹

90% of SD-WAN early adopters plan to use the cloud for enterprise apps in the next year.2

Deliver a unified security architecture for multicloud connectivity.

A lack of unified, end-to-end security from the branch to multiple clouds is increasing risks to organisations. Opening the enterprise to the cloud expands the attack surface of vulnerability points. Providing the right level of network access to the right people at the right points in the network becomes critical. Cisco SD-WAN provides a robust security architecture to connect users to applications with best-in-class security deployment models combining branch edge and cloud edge.

Achieve comprehensive threat protection and compliance for migration to multicloud architectures. Single cloud management of networking policies and security policies simplifies deployment and helps make protection more pervasive. Business-critical assets are isolated and protected at all times, because threat defences are embedded at important points in the network infrastructure, from branch to cloud.

WAN complexity is one of the top three concerns plaguing enterprise architects.2

Scale with simplicity.

Managing hundreds and thousands of branch locations has always been a major challenge with traditional WAN architectures — especially since they were previously managed on a per-device basis with separate networks on MPLS and broadband. This complexity made consistent policy seem like a distant goal, made even more unattainable when a policy change needed to be rolled out across all sites. SD-WAN makes consistent policy not only possible but seamless.

It doesn’t matter if you’re managing tens or thousands of locations; SD-WAN simplifies network management. With a single WAN fabric, all policies and configurations can be centrally managed, even across multicloud environments. The outcome is true simplicity at an enterprise scale. One large tech company completed public cloud migration in one week (instead of the estimated 12 months).

Software updates take 51% less time for your IT team with Cisco SD‑WAN.3

Seamlessly integrate across systems.

APIs enable IT to seamlessly integrate its existing operations environment with Cisco SD‑WAN while also allowing a high level of flexibility to deliver capabilities that might not be available within Cisco vManage. For example, enterprise IT service management (ITSM) tools can be used to automate trouble tickets if there are issues with the WAN, enabling the artificial intelligence and machine learning engines of the ecosystem to deliver the fullest experience without IT intervention. Network monitoring tools can be used to aggregate data from the WAN with data from the rest of the network to provide a more holistic view of the enterprise, making it easier to troubleshoot and pinpoint problems faster. Service providers can also use APIs to integrate with their operations and billing systems to monitor customer networks and usage while orchestrating changes across large numbers of nodes.

IDC found that enterprises had a 58% reduced implementation time for new policies and configurations with Cisco SD‑WAN.¹

Mesa de trabajo 12 W AN c ompl e xi t y is one of the t op th r ee c on c e r ns plaguing e n t e r p r ise a r chi t e c t s . 3 S cale with simplici t y . M ana g ing hund r eds and thousands of b r anch loc a tions has al w a y s been a major challenge with t r aditional W AN a r chi t e c tu r es especially sin c e they w e r e p r eviously managed on a pe r - devi c e basis with sepa r a t e ne t w o r ks on MPLS and b r oadban d . T his c ompl e xi t y made c onsis t e n t poli c y seem like a dista n t goa l , made e v en mo r e un a ttainable when a poli c y change needed t o be r olled out ac r oss all si t e s . S D - W AN makes c onsis t e n t poli c y not only possible but seamles s . I t does n ' t m a t t er if y o u r e mana g ing t ens or thousands of loc a tions; S D - W AN simplifies ne t w o r k manageme n t . W ith a single W AN fab r i c , all policies and c onfigu r a tions can be c e n t r ally manage d , e v en ac r oss multicloud e n vi r onme n t s . T he ou tc ome is true simplici t y a t an e n t e r p r ise scal e .

95% of enterprises are using or expect to use SD-WAN within 24 months.2

Deploy without speed bumps.

SD-WAN delivers rich benefits in terms of costs, security and simplicity. But the key to a successful SD-WAN transformation is to put the right focus on the initial setup and transition of the first 5 to 10 sites. And then to expand SD-WAN across the rest of the enterprise rapidly. This is where services from Cisco Customer Experience are able to deliver the biggest value. Drawing from the best practices of successful deployments from numerous enterprises, ranging from simple to complex, the Cisco Customer Experience team’s focus is to make the transformation smooth and avoid major hurdles. Categorising the various sites, establishing templates, defining global policies and enabling the right security architecture are a sure way to a smooth and successful deployment. An IDC study found that Cisco SD-WAN customers on average achieved 38% reduced 5-year total costs of operations.³

SD-WAN is forecasted to grow at a 30.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2018 to 2023, to $5.25 billion.4

See SD-WAN use-case scenarios that can help you keep up.

  • 1
    Secure automated WAN

    Enable enterprises to migrate away from traditional, operationally complex WANs that have many silos to a software-based, agile WAN with robust security features.

  • 2
    Application performance optimisation

    Design a global network where the critical enterprise applications always maintain the highest service level agreements (SLAs) and guaranteed performance, even during problems in the network.

  • 3
    Secure, direct Internet access (DIA)

    Enable branch offices to connect to Internet and cloud applications for fast application performance and comprehensive protection against attacks.

  • 4
    Branch multicloud access

    Achieve rapid migration to the cloud with integrated Cloud onRamp capabilities for SaaS and public cloud.

  • 5
    Regional hub multicloud access

    Consolidate regional infrastructure closer to cloud applications within co-location hubs using architecture based on Cisco virtualised network functions (VNF).

Why Cisco
 SD-WAN?

Only Cisco offers a comprehensive network solution that includes SD-WAN along with powerful security architecture and the ability to scale at your own pace. Cisco SD-WAN solutions integrate cloud optimisation, security and advanced analytics to transform your enterprise for digital and cloud.

See how Cisco SD-WAN helped National Instruments by providing 30 times the bandwidth at one-third the cost.

Read the case study See more case studies