SD-WAN (or ‘software defined area networking’) is a changing the way multi-site businesses (or those with homeworkers) connect and build their networks. This post will discuss the importance of a good connection for SD-WAN and the benefits of the technology.
SD-WAN is a virtual overlay that can be applied to the already existing wide area network. The term ‘software defined’ simply means that changes across the network can be made using software. Prior to the development of SD-WAN, changes across the network would be more time consuming as they would need to be done by manually altering hardware in multiple locations.
Software suppliers are increasingly moving their technology to The Cloud, which (in turn) means that is highly reliant on the quality of its connection. The software layer of the network is only as solid as the network connections they are built on. Consequently, a good internet connection is essential for SD-WAN.
SD-WAN uses the same connections that you would with any other network, however as the intelligence is built in at the software level, it means the routers can be much more basic. This has a huge implication on the hardware cost meaning for the same price, you can sometimes get multiple times the bandwidth.
You can also have your resilience built in at the software level meaning automated fail over of load balancing if the underlying connections are capable.
It is also important to mention the need for SLA (or ‘service level agreements’). These are commitments by your service provider. These typically are better with higher quality circuits and will be based around response times if the service goes down (note it is almost never fix times!), up time for the core network and things like time to get engineers on site. When you have so much critical infrastructure powered in the cloud, the quality of connectivity, SLAs and resilience are paramount.
One of the most apparent benefits of SD-WAN is its versatility. Networks can be altered extremely easily and quickly. Separate parts of the network can be altered using algorithms alone, with traffic prioritised or re-routed based on a whole series of criteria or even machine learning.
The control that SD-WAN gives you over your network is also makes it incredibly efficient. Both from the reduced costs of lower levels of human interaction and programming, but also software companies can now apply learnings between networks. This means that changes can be implemented instantly across multiple locations, new sites added much more easily and changes rolled back if required.
Security is vital in today’s digital landscape. SD-WAN has built in features such as firewalls, encryption and content filtering which will stop dangerous traffic from entering your site. It also has superb recovery capabilities. Having a centralised internet breakout and centralised monitoring means reduced number of firewalls and if a hack does happen, patches can be rolled out network wide in milliseconds.
SD-WAN will save your business money as it doesn’t rely on expensive to maintain equipment and it has a much-reduced cost of time to maintain. We have seen some businesses make savings of 90%, however, 50% is a much more conservative estimate of potential savings. In addition, the savings form other areas of the infrastructure by moving to the cloud can be even more significant.
For information on SD-WAN and its benefits please see our related blog posts.
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