Cloud connectivity is now a must-have for modern businesses as they strive to connect employees, consumers and machines across the world. As more and more employees opt for hybrid and remote working roles, businesses are having to rely on internet services and the cloud more than ever before.
This has created a major shift in the use and management of WANs (wide area networks) as cloud connectivity can be hindered by poor WAN performance.
What is a WAN?
In its simplest form, a WAN is a large computer network that connects groups of computers over large distances and enables the sharing of information between devices.
WAN networks are often established by service providers who then lease their WANs to businesses, schools, governments and the public. Many large businesses employ WANs to connect their global office networks. These long connections can be formed in several different ways, including leased lines, cellular networks, VPNs or IP tunnels.
The definition of what constitutes a WAN is fairly broad, but technically, any large network that spreads across a wide geographic area is a WAN. The internet itself is considered the world’s largest WAN.
So what is SD-WAN?
To increase data transfer efficiency across a WAN, and to ensure businesses stay connected, many organisations employ an SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network).
SD-WAN is a cloud-first virtual WAN architecture that monitors the performance of WAN connections and manages traffic in an effort to maintain high speeds and optimise connectivity.
Traditional WANs were never designed for the cloud. The traditional WAN model of backhauling traffic from branch offices to data centres for security inspection is not compatible with cloud computing – it wastes bandwidth and adds latency, which impairs computing performance.
SD-WAN increases WAN efficiency by moving lower priority traffic to lower-cost network links to do the work of more-expensive leased or MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) lines.
SD-WAN vs MPLS
MPLS is a common method for constructing connections between LANs (local area networks), which make up WANs. Using WAN routers, MPLS sends packets along predetermined network paths, improving the way the internet works.
Although fast and reliable, these network paths can take a long time to implement, are often expensive, and require a contracted service from a carrier or ISP (internet service provider).
On the other hand, the virtualised overlay nature of SD-WAN allows users to quickly and easily leverage multiple connection types, such as LTE, MPLS, and broadband, providing greater flexibility.
Why should businesses employ SD-WAN?
In the modern digital age, many organisations host their business software in the cloud to allow for hybrid and remote working. Unfortunately, cloud connectivity can be hindered by poor WAN performance caused by latency, packet loss and poor bandwidth utilisation – SD-WAN overcomes these issues.
SD-WAN empowers “anywhere operations” and enables direct end-user to cloud traffic while maintaining speed, performance, reliability, and security.
SD-WAN technology is available in a variety of business models, including SD-WAN as-a-service and managed SD-WAN.
4 Business Benefits of SD-WAN
The excitement surrounding SD-WAN stems from the fact that SD-WAN is more cost-effective and operationally agile than MPLS. SD-WAN reduces CapEx and OpEx while also simplifying WAN management and business scalability.
Here are 4 key benefits of SD-WAN explained in more detail:
1. Reduced WAN costs
MPLS is essentially a private network that links data centres and branch offices around the world, so bandwidth is expensive. In comparison, SD-WAN reduces networking costs by separating network control and management processes from the underlying hardware.
SD-WAN leverages your bandwidth-rich and cost-effective WAN connections to improve network performance, saving you money on operating costs and reducing spend on bandwidth that isn’t necessary.
2. Enhanced WAN performance
Before the influx of cloud computing, MPLS was the top choice in enterprise WAN due to its traffic routing capabilities between static point-to-point locations. With cloud and mobile computing however, MPLS struggles as it simply isn’t optimised for point-to-cloud connectivity.
An MPLS-based WAN has to inefficiently backhaul internet-bound traffic to a corporate data centre. The same internet-bound traffic is then routed back through the corporate data centre, which places a drag on network performance.
SD-WAN enables policy-based routing (PbR) and allows businesses to leverage the best transport method for the job, which improves performance for mobile users and cloud services.
3. Improved WAN agility & flexibility
MPLS simply wasn’t designed with agility in mind. SD-WAN on the other hand is designed to enable maximum agility and flexibility.
By removing the underlying complexities of multiple transport methods and enabling PbR, SD-WAN allows businesses to meet the varying demands of cloud workloads and scale their operations up or down as necessary.
SD-WAN also enables faster, easier WAN deployment, enabling businesses to implement new services in days – not months.
4. Reduced security risks
SD-WAN creates a large web of connected devices, but security is kept as robust as possible thanks to SD-WAN’s zero-trust model.
SD-WAN keeps data secure with a mix of essential features, including:
- Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) encrypted tunnels are used to carry information between locations
- Microsegmentation separates less secure traffic from sensitive information
- Threat detection services are built on the secure edge to quickly identify and mitigate threats
- All edge devices are authorised before they’re allowed into the network
SD-WAN from DVAD & Evolving Networks
To be successful, we understand that businesses need to be nimble and agile. To do this, there must be a shift in focus away from keeping a static infrastructure up and running. WANs must deliver reliable connections between employees and the applications they need to use – consistently, dependably, and wherever they may be.
Evolving Networks’ SDN Platform delivers resilient, agile, intelligent networking, addressing the needs of modern-day businesses who struggle with business connectivity and networking. Connecting users to applications and data reliably, without lag or dropped connections, it enables customers to focus on what they do best, without the network getting in the way.
Evolving Networks’ SD-WAN as a Service offering is the result of over a decade of development, which allows Evolving Networks to operate as the ISP and above the ISP.
Together with our own fully qualified IT engineers, we’ll introduce you to an SD-WAN service that’ll deliver any network topology, for any number of sites, reaching any combination of data centre, cloud, internet and branch locations.
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to every WAN challenge, most modern enterprises could benefit from SD-WAN implementation.
If you’d like to speak to us about the SD-WAN services we offer, or how we can improve your business communications and infrastructure, please call us on 0800 84 999 84, or email us at email@example.com.
Our full contact information can be found here: https://dvad.co.uk/contact-us/.