Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is an application used in Software-Defined Networking (SDN). It is used in WAN connections to connect to larger networks, such as data centers that are separated by distance, offices that have different branches, and so on.
Deploying Traditional WAN is not only complex but expensive and requires additional support as well. On the other hand, SDWAN is easy to deploy an application which reduces not only cost but also provides visibility and network-wide access control. The key aspect of SD-WAN technology is that it helps to communicate with all network endpoints, with no additional protocols or mechanisms.
Security is one of the major advantages of SD-WAN. The basic preferences of all the companies in network architecture are security, protocol, and orchestration. SD-WAN caters to all three preferences through secure connectivity. Apart from security, companies also benefit from end-to-end encryptions throughout the network, including the internet. This ensures all devices connected to the network are securely authenticated and all communications happening are secured on the cloud.
The different types of SD-WAN architecture are Internet-based SD-WAN, MPLS-based SD-WAN, and Premises-based SD-WAN.
Internet-based SD-WAN– This architecture uses multiple appliances depending upon the location, using internet connections chosen by the service providers. This architecture helps the customers to pay only for a part of the internet connection that is SD-WAN enabled.
MPLS-based SD-WAN– This architecture involves multiple appliances depending upon the network endpoints. This architecture enables to create a Virtual Private Network (VPN) between the appliances and gives them control of network packets end-to-end.
Premises-based SD-WAN– This architecture could be cost-effective solutions to small organizations. This architecture involves an appliance and places in the location to achieve the SD-WAN benefits.
All these types of SD-WAN architecture differ in cost and benefits, depending upon the requirements of the companies. However, irrespective of the types, these architectures offer a complete range of SDWAN capabilities.
First, let us see how traditional WAN works. The traditional WAN design is based on the stacked devices in the branch office, with disparate WAN links connecting the devices. Hence, this design results in:
Expensive bandwidth– The bandwidth of MPLS/private circuits is limited and affects the performance of the devices.
Excessive dependency on datacenter – Since the network design is based on the devices in the branch office, there is no direct access to the cloud resources. Often, during the peak situations, the network traffic is backhauled in the branch office, resulting in performance issues.
Application performance is unpredictable – Every change or update made in the quality of services in an application requires manual interventions across the branch office or data center. So, this results in the application performance unpredictable.
Infrastructure is complex – As mentioned earlier, the traditional WAN design is based on the devices that are arranged in the branch office, connected with different WAN links. This infrastructure is complex and can be handled only by a skilled administrator. Any downtime faced during a critical situation cannot be resolved without the administrator. If the administrator is not available for any reason during the downtime, then the infrastructure will be down, until it is resolved manually.
Now, let us see in detail how SD-WAN works better in the same branch office.
Virtual WAN – The virtual WAN delivers the network overlay through various links, from various service providers. This forms a uniform layer of bandwidth, providing high performance and availability to the applications.
Optimization in the cloud –The cloud-based applications require several new techniques and approaches in deployment. If the communications are happening in the cloud, then the performance is assured even during the peak situations and during network congestion.
Simplified infrastructure – SD-WAN provides network services in the cloud, data center, and regional offices. Since SD-WAN provides flexibility through automation, it simplifies the configuration during the network congestion and in policy definitions.
Pay only as per the requirement – SD-WAN enables the organization to deploy the WAN services either on-premises or in the cloud. The cloud-based configuration enables the organization to achieve cost-effective services and enables to pay as per the requirement.
SD-WAN connectivity can be delivered to the customers, through a process called SD-WAN as a Service. The SD-WAN concept is attractive to many customers because it replaces the traditional WAN design and provides transparent support to services such as MPLS, LTE, and the Internet. Additionally, SD-WAN also allows traffic sharing between the WAN, which makes the network performance efficient.
For many service providers, SD-WAN as a Service creates an opportunity to generate revenues because it can manage WAN services for organizations. Similarly, companies that do not want to make it complex managing the WAN services can outsource the entire process to a service provider that offers SD-WAN as a Service. For many companies, outsourcing to manage their WAN services to a service provider can be a boon because it reduces cost and complexity in managing. Some of the service providers such as Verizon, AT&T, and Singtel are already having the SD-WAN as a Service. In January 2017, Windstream has announced that they have given their WAN managing services to VeloCloud. The company (Windstream) also said that the services to manage includes voice, video, and other data applications.
SD-WAN can reduce 90% of the enterprise WAN cost along eliminating major issues like security, bandwidth, Application sync. At Lavelle Networks we’ve been helping clients to sail smoothly on the transformation wave by delivering bespoke experiences through software-defined networking solutions. If you want to unlock the true potential of your SD-WAN investment to drive better business outcomes and MROI get in touch now.