WAN bandwidth needs are growing. With the continued rise in video, mobile devices, the cloud, and reliance on technology to conduct business, the WAN must be able to transport more data than ever. That increased bandwidth comes with a sharp increase in price using standard, secure MPLS connections. At the same time, IT budgets are flat or declining. Something has to give.
In response to this dynamic, SD-WAN is quickly becoming the go-to solution for businesses of all sizes. There are several benefits of SD-WAN. Cost reduction is, of course, a reason in and of itself to pursue SD-WAN, but the advantages to the modern business only begin there.
What is SD-WAN?
Because SD-WAN is still a fairly new technology, there may be some variation in the methods and effects of products claiming to be SD-WAN. To focus our conversation, we’ll use the Gartner definition. Gartner defines SD-WAN with four key requirements:
- SD-WAN supports multiple connection types: MPLS, broadband, Internet, LTE Wireless etc.
- The SD-WAN solution must perform load sharing of traffic across multiple WAN connections efficiently and dynamically.
- SD-WAN must simplify management, configuration, and orchestration of WAN solutions.
- SD-WAN must provide secure VPN and integrate into firewalls, WAN optimization, and other network services.
4 Benefits of SD-WAN Technology
- Reduced Costs
First and foremost, SD-WAN can help cut your bandwidth costs. As mentioned in the SD-WAN definition above, an SD-WAN solution must support and be able to share the traffic load between multiple connection types, such as MPLS, broadband, Internet, LTE Wireless etc. This allows you to save money on your WAN connection by leveraging the much more affordable standard internet connection for your WAN instead of a designated MPLS. This can be done without compromising network speed or security.
SD-WAN solutions improve upon the security standards of older WAN connections in two salient ways. The first is that SD-WAN solutions have built-in encryption capabilities that ensure only authorized users will be able to access your data. The second is that many SD-WAN solutions allow for precise control of security policies through their management interface. This allows you to fine-tune your security to match your needs.
- Rapid Provisioning
Due to SD-WAN’s ability to leverage multiple connection types, your IT department can rapidly provision new branch locations using broadband circuits instead of purchasing new lines. This can drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to provision the new branch and connect it to the corporate network.
As a software-defined solution, SD-WAN streamlines the management and orchestration of WAN solutions. Namely, you can rapidly deploy WAN services like firewalls to every branch, scale up or scale down bandwidth needs, and manage branch sites without sending IT administrators to remote locations.
The Future is Software-Defined
Across the data center stack, software-defined solutions are gaining popularity. From software-defined storage to the network to virtual desktops, these new breed of solutions generally increase agility, reduce management costs, and simplify the IT environment. SD-WAN is the next iteration in this movement, and it is clear to see why. The future is software-defined, and SD-WAN can provide tremendous value to your organization.