Recently, SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking) has become one of the hottest words among enterprises networking operators and services providers. Why? On one hand, more and more Internet-based applications, services and bandwidth-intensive applications are deployed in the cloud. On the other hand, all these added equipment not only requires operators to invest lots of funds, but also to spend time and money to manage them. How to solve this collision? Then the SD-WAN comes to help.
Figure 1. Various services on Cloud Network
According to Gartner, “SD-WAN is a new and transformational way to architect, deploy and operate corporate WANs, as it provides a dramatically simplified way of deploying and managing remote branch office connectivity in a cost-effective manner.” Put it in simple terms, SD-WAN is a specific application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology applied to WAN connections. It is often used to connect enterprise networks over large geographic distances and can help operators to determine the most effective way to route traffic to other remote locations.
Figure 2. Simple SD-WAN Structure
The SD-WAN are replacing traditional WANs quickly as more enterprises realize the demand to rethink the networking architecture for today’s cloud-based world. One of the chief characteristics of SD-WAN is its ability to manage multiple types of connections – from MPLS to broadband to LTE. And diverse applications increase and migrate from the cooperate data center into the cloud, the SD-WAN enables enterprises to deploy their WANs 100 times faster and 3 times cheaper. In addition, SD-WAN can lower costs and improve efficiency. With SD-WAN, operators don’t need to buy expensive MPLS connections to interconnect remote sites, which help operators eliminate some expensive but unnecessary devices. Furthermore, SD-WAN is capable of overcoming the security, reliability and performance challenges to using the Internet for business applications, which is what customers and services provider care much about.
Due to its powerful functions and performances, SD-WAN is attracting growing interest to enterprises. Based on Gartner’s estimation, SD-WAN occupies less than 5% market shares today, but up to 25% of users will manage their WAN through software in two years. And the revenue of SD-WAN vendors will be up to $1.3 billion by 2020.
Modern businesses have benefited a lot from the agility and economic advantages of being in the cloud. And with the cloud computing, enterprise mobility and other bandwidth intensive applications getting more important in computing landscape, the transformation of enterprise WAN is inevitable. During this process, SD-WAN, by offering automation and simplified management for cloud networking, enables operators to overcome the complexity and rigidity of managing workloads successfully.
Figure 3. SD-WAN and Cloud
As we know, in legacy WANs, satellite or branch locations are usually connected to data centers via MPLS or other circuits, which is limited to the same service provider. Each branch router works independently, and the visibility of each connection is only possible on separated links, which is not good for the whole control of the networks. And the branch-to-cloud traffic is forced to take trombone routes through the data center, raising WAN cost and impeding applications performance. All these existing problems set hinder the cloud-based networks go further.
The SD-WAN offers high performance Internet access directly so cloud and mobile applications can be optimized and the entire network can work more effectively. Apart from the benefits of cost-saving, here let’s look closer at what SD-WAN can benefit for cloud-based networks.
Centralized visibility and management – SD-WAN can abstract the control plane from the physical devices at each location connected. Enterprises can use various types of connectivity being used and the carriers the are delivering it. Based on the existing routers and MPLS, this kind of operation allows greater flexibility and the capability for dynamic, automatic failover.
Comprehensive security – security is always top of mind when it comes to cloud computing. SD-WAN can offer fine-grained policies according to applications, the devices’ identity or users, along with improved traffic visibility, thus providing segmentation to implement application access controls and other tools that ensure the network safety.
Digital transformation includes cloud, diverse services, mobile, is happening now, and fast. SD-WAN, as a new technology that emerges at the right moment, provides an effective way for enterprise managers and service providers to manage their cloud-based networks. In the near future, SD-WAN will change your network completely. Do you think so?