SD-WAN is a modernized WAN architecture that provides a better way to connect geographically dispersed sites. By building the network from consolidated, virtualized functions hosted on general-purpose hardware and centrally managed software, it delivers operational efficiencies (and cost savings), as well as improved agility and performance.
The ideal network infrastructure for many businesses is a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). Built on the idea that you don't need expensive hardware to intelligently steer traffic between a variety of connectivity options, SD-WAN lets you mix and match WAN links.
Why should you use SD-WAN? The advantages are clear:
- Save money: Using your existing internet connection supplementing your MPLS will save you money on connectivity costs. You can also leverage various low cost broadband services.
Improved application performance: Since SD-WAN relies on internet links for redundancy, it eliminates the need for over provisioning bandwidth, giving users faster access to business applications.
- Easy to deploy and manage: SD-WAN provides centralized control and management of the entire WAN using zero touch configuration which allows quick deployment of new sites or changes in policies.
Legacy WANs have three drawbacks that make them problematic for enterprises today:
- They can be expensive, especially if you need to connect multiple branch locations back to a single headquarters.
- They can be difficult to configure and manage. As the number of devices grows and new applications are added, managing them with traditional methods becomes labor-intensive and error-prone.
- Legacy WANs are not always flexible enough to accommodate changes in the network or planned capacity upgrades.
SD-WAN is a virtual overlay that sits on top of an existing physical network. This network can be made up of multiple types of transport links, including MPLS, LTE, fixed broadband and more. Organizations can create policies to specify how traffic is sent over these transport links based on application criticality and business intent. For example, you could use SD-WAN to route voice traffic over the MPLS link and non-critical data over lower cost internet access. Furthermore, you can provide business intent based routing to support mission critical applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP).
SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) is a technology that makes it easier to manage WAN connections. As more applications move to the cloud, organizations need to send traffic across many different connection types and often across the public Internet. SD-WAN helps them simplify the configuration, provisioning and management of those WAN connections.
It can be implemented completely in software running on virtual machines on x86 servers, or it can be a combination of hardware and software. For example, an overlay controller runs as software on servers in a data center controlling physical routers located at branch offices or remote sites.
The technology works by defining policies for how users should be directed based on various factors such as application type, user location or time of day etc., and applying these policies dynamically across multiple links including MPLS, internet, LTE and others.