When it comes to future-proofing your networking needs, SD-WAN checks all the boxes.
SD-WAN (software-defined networking in a wide area network) is being embraced by IT and network managers looking to accelerate digital innovation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The emerging technology simplifies the connectivity and management of complex networks by utilizing cloud-based software via a centralized WAN edge platform.
SD-WAN is not only a cost-effective solution for companies to manage data, video, and voice between remote branches and data centers today — with ROI estimated at 50+ percent savings vs. legacy WAN technology – but SD-WAN is designed to work with the high bandwidth, low latency requirements of the 5G technology of tomorrow.
“There have been significant changes in wide-area networks over the past few years, none more important than software-defined WAN or SD-WAN, which is changing how network pros think about optimizing the use of connectivity that is as varied as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), frame relay and even DSL,” wrote Network World senior editor Michael Cooney.
COVID-19 Spurs Shift to SD-WAN
The COVID-19 pandemic, especially with its focus on remote work, has forced businesses to take a hard look at their networking technology.
president at Gartner. “The support for remote work that the COVID-19 pandemic brought on might be the biggest win for CIOs since Y2K. They now have the attention of the CEO, they have convinced senior business leaders of the need to modernize technology, and they have prompted boards of directors to accelerate enterprise digital business initiatives. CIOs must seize this moment because they may never get another opportunity like it.”
The digital acceleration will result in a 49.44 percent compound annual growth rate in the SD-WAN market from 2020 to 2024 according to SpendEdge’s recently released “Global SD-WAN Market Procurement Intelligence Report”.
SpendEdge estimates the incremental spending in the SD-WAN market will be a staggering $11.8 trillion over the report period.
The Basics Behind SD-WAN
SD-WAN basically unlinks networking hardware from its traditional control mechanism, creating instead a flexible, virtualized network overlay to manage and control connectivity.
Companies can connect locations over vast distances by using lower-cost, commercially available internet access vs. more expensive private legacy WAN technologies such as the router-based MPLS.
The research firm Gartner defines SD-WAN as having four distinct characteristics:
- Ability to support multiple connections types from high-speed cellular networks (4G LTE and 5G) to Last Mile Fiber Optic Networks to MPLS.
- Centralized management via a simple interface that is easy to manage and configure.
- Ability to do dynamic path selection. This elastic traffic management helps with load sharing and resiliency.
- Support third-party services such as WAN optimization as well as VPNs.
SD-WAN was developed to solve problems faced by legacy WAN technology such as:
- Provide low latency needed for applications such as virtualized applications, streaming media, videoconferencing, and VoIP technology.
- Provide bandwidth requirements for high-definition video, 5G and IoT emerging technology.
- Lessen operational issues such as network congestion, service outages, packet delay and loss.
- Curb the expenses associated with managing and troubleshooting legacy WAN and expanding WAN to meet digital innovation.
Cooney in Network World wrote: “one of SD-WAN’s chief features is the ability to manage multiple connections from MPLS to broadband to LTE. Another important piece is the ability to segment, partition and secure traffic traversing the WAN.”
The security aspect of SD-WAN is extremely important, especially with the shift to cloud-based applications that require secure remote access. Companies and government agencies, alike, are looking to upgrade to SD-WAN for its security features.
“In addition to SD-WAN’s built-in security layers, the technology also lends itself well to agencies using a zero trust security approach, which uses a process of continuous verification,” wrote Rob Dapkiewicz in the Federal News Network. “With SD-WAN’s customization, IT managers have better insight into who is using their network and applications, enabling them to quickly deploy new access control policies in response.”
Components of SD-WAN Architecture
SD-WAN architecture consists of three main elements: SD-WAN Edge, SD-WAN Controller and SD-WAN Orchestrator. Here is a closer look at each:
SD-WAN Edge: The virtual (or physical) network function placed at a network’s endpoints such as a central office, data center, branch, or regional site, and private or public cloud platform.
SD-WAN Controller: Centralizes management to the SD-WAN Edge, including configuration and activation, IP address management and pushing down policies onto SD-WAN edges.
SD-WAN Orchestrator: Virtual manager for the network, utilizing a centralized cloud portal to oversee network traffic and management as well as apply policy and protocol. Typically includes the SD-WAN Controller functionality.
Advantages of SD-WAN
PS Lightwave’s All-in-One Cloud NSX SD-WAN Orchestrator provides the typical advantages that are making SD-WAN the platform choice for companies of all sizes including:
- Simplified WAN management: zero touch deployment, simplified operations, one-click service insertion.
- Assured application performance: Transport independent performance for the most demanding apps, leverages economical bandwidth.
- Managed on-ramp to the Cloud: Direct cloud access with performance, reliability and security.
Contact PS Lightwave today to find out how SD-WAN can help your company future-proof its networking needs.
PS LIGHTWAVE provides high-speed, fiber Internet for public and private commercial entities in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas.
Through our high-quality infrastructure, innovative technology and expert, locally based support, we deliver not only the best in connectivity and reliability but in scalability and redundancy. We invite you to learn more about our services, our history and our dedicated team.