What is SD-WAN?

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is the application of software-based network technologies to WAN connections to more effectively route all network traffic between headquarters or data centers, remote and branch offices, and the cloud.

More simply, it is the method of leveraging the benefits of the cloud, the bandwidth of broadband and existing enterprise-wide network infrastructure to more efficiently and cost effectively transmit media (data, video, voice) and quickly access cloud applications from every location in the network.

Advantages of SD-WAN Solutions

Ease of Deployment

SD-WAN allows for various deployment options including completely cloud- or software-based, hardware based, or a hybrid (cloud/ software and hardware). In each instance, all the components are able to connect to each other when brought online and configurations are pushed from the central monitoring and management orchestrator. There is no need for a specialized technician to facilitate installation.

Network Agility

Because SD-WAN is cloud-delivered and software based, it allows for quick adaptation to changing needs including adding access to cloud-based services, standing up new branches or remote offices, and dynamic routing of all traffic for optimized application and data delivery.

Central Management and Control

A centrally located orchestrator monitors all network activity, alerting of problems, and enabling the remote remediation of issues. The orchestrator enables the automatic push of configurations to each network node and add accessibility to common software platforms to every location quickly and efficiently. In addition, it delivers real-time analytics and reporting.

Reduce Cost

Gartner reports that an SD-WAN deployment is 2.5 times less expensive than traditional WAN architectures. The root of this reduction is attributed to: → Leveraging existing infrastructure to transmit all traffic and access cloud applications (MPLS, broadband, LTE).
→ Reducing problem identification and associated remediation costs: Central management and control of network activity eliminates the need to send out trained technicians to assess issues and repair them.
→ Payment plans that are subscription models, allowing pay-as-you-go plans that defray high upfront investment costs and on-going maintenance and upgrade fees.
→ Zero touch provisioning that allows quick branch deployments and time to accessibility as all deployment functions are managed from the central IT home office.
→ The lack of need to deploy application-specific hardware or software at each branch location as all locations can access the same cloud-based applications.

Optimize Application Performance

Optimize application performance over Hybrid or Internet links with direct, secure access to enterprise and cloud applications. SD-WAN provides consolidated monitoring and visibility across multiple WAN links and service providers.

SD-WAN offers compelling advantages for distributed organizations with critical branch operations, including the benefits of business agility, improved application performance, and lower cost of bandwidth

- Lee Doyle, Doyle Research

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