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Is SD-WAN more powerful for enterprise networking?

July 9, 2017


Remember software-defined networking? In fact, software-defined anything, out of the ever growing range of tech features that slowly move towards virtualization, beginning with this step. SD-WAN is in the spotlight this time, as software-defined networking in wide-area networks is the future in enterprise networking.

According to Network Computing, the SD-WAN market “will reach $6 billion in 2020, as enterprises look to streamline their WAN infrastructure“. In fact, that is what the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts. The estimate counts on the way things developed all along the year 2016.

Where does the industry stand now?

For the moment, the SD-WAN segment is at the beginning. This means it wouldn’t impress just by its size, not yet at least. To quote Network Computing again, as they featured a research note coming from a specialist (Cliff Grossner) – SD-WAN continues to gain momentum.

Companies such as AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, BT, SingTel and Sprint are recent entries in this segment, while tier-2 operators announced their similar intentions (Vonage, EarthLink, MetTel and TelePacific). These important moves will increase the speed in this domain.

What is SD-WAN and why the business-related hype?

We have mentioned above how the term stands for software-defined networking in wide-area network. The networking connoisseurs probably know the abbreviation, as well as the technology and its business benefits. But perhaps not all potential clients fully understand why this type of enterprise networking method is about perspective.

Via SDN, companies simplify the wide-area network management due to the process of separating the networking hardware from its control mechanism. Data traffic management operates separately from the lower infrastructure processes. Specific firmware makes place for a different set of protocols that allows a more agile type of access to all the needed routers and switches.

This type of software architecture improves management in data center networking. It does so when it comes to wide-area networks, as well. Companies can employ lower-cost lease lines in this newly structured process, thus saving money, whilst also gaining flexibility and mobility.

SD-WAN and cloud-computing

The new modern seems to bring in a suite of technologies. They are correlated, and when adopting one of them, companies soon find out it is better to just enroll for the whole package. Otherwise, they will end up rerunning some of the same processes when they realize it just doesn’t pay to go half way in.

Cloud computing is a big challenge for businesses. Enterprise-level cloud computing adoption may feel like a huge disruption. Properly approached, the entire process can go smoothly and adopters may reap considerable benefits in no time.

Without SD-WAN, cloud adopters have to manage two separate networks, “each with critical applications, but separate paths, redundancy, speeds, and more”. Public and private cloud take up a lot of effort to coordinate and minor discrepancies can branch into tedious, difficult tasks.

With SD-WAN, integrating multiple cloud services comes easier. Even when cloud operations are not yet at their full potential, it is more efficient to monitor the network via this technology. Taking better care of the current needs and preparing companies for the future, SD-WAN facilitates performance and reliability when it comes to network management.

SD-WAN and IoT

Once in the cloud, companies are able to orchestrate big data in an upgraded manner. Making large information transfers possible and connecting remote endpoints in ways that perhaps not even geographical closeness could, cloud computing opens up new horizons.

The first step might be the hardest, if done right. When cloud adoption is carefully planned and executed, all that derives from it may seem easier, provided the responsible factors define the right adjustment times. When the adoption process is wobbly or disorganized, companies may find the subsequent operations harder. Vulnerabilities and flaws can backfire later on, when deploying cloud operations.

But let’s assume that cloud adoption is done right. Moving business operations into the cloud, having a correctly orchestrated cyber-security strategy – that kind of right. This would stand as a firm basis for further IoT operations.

SD-WAN is in the air

SD-WAN is certainly the buzzword nowadays. Telco and networking professionals confess that many of their clients show interest in this new technology. Depending on each client’s topology, there are a few solutions that can prove most effective. Some may choose to go with hybrid SD-WAN, while others may find point-to-point SD-WAN best suitable.

What is also extremely appealing about this type of solutions is the fact that they can stand trials before the stage of full commitment. Those who are willing to modernize their networking solutions by introducing software-defined WAN into their IT structure can test the functionality before any major moves.

Counting the benefits of SD-WAN

Cisco prompted a clever material entitled “SD-WAN Bill of Rights”. It enumerates the benefits brought on by this networking technology as such:

  • Better monitoring and tuning of the application performance;
  • Remote fixing branch issues due to centralized monitoring;
  • Freedom in choosing one’s own WAN connectivity;
  • Enabling Rich Media experiences;
  • Better securing of both apps and infrastructure elements;
  • Easy usage and integration of third-party apps and services;
  • Preparing for full IoT deployment;
  • Enabling flexible deployment models;
  • Expectancy of a great ROI for companies.

For a more detailed illustration of what SD-WAN means for businesses, here you may check another comprehensive material.