SD-WAN: Combining Intuitive Connectivity, Monitoring, and Provision for Superior Network Performance

SD-WANCompanies today must be able to transact business securely in order to stay ahead of competitors and build a reputation for excellence, and business architectures are changing to meet these new demands. Wide area networks (WAN) offer the ability to connect branch offices and data centers across large geographical areas. When combined with software-defined networking (SDN) technologies which are delivered through the cloud, a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) delivers effective tools that enterprises can safely deploy to retain and expand their profitability.

Virtual private networks (VPN) that are contained in a cloud environment offer cost reductions, improved network management, and an effective user experience for employees and customers alike. This same technology applies to broadband internet connections, increasing their security. Instead of purchasing capital intensive WAN technologies like multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), the migration to SD-WAN provides layer-2 and layer-3 switching possibilities through VPN, optimization, network as a service (NaaS), and application policy and delivery controls.


How It Works

SD-WAN technology uses secure broadband connections to replace more expensive legacy technologies. Routing hardware is exchanged using specific provisioning and connectivity through cloud software, which enables companies to scale up during times of peak demand. Security is assured through VPN, and businesses can deploy additional optimization through application policy and provision controls.

For enterprises that now rely on some type of public, private, or hybrid cloud model (that included on-premises servers), SD-WAN delivers effective methods for managing and optimizing the mix of MLPS, Ethernet, cable, and DSL that originates from a variety of local access providers.


Business Benefits

Because of its cost to benefit ratio, SD-WAN use is expected to rise rapidly over the next few years. By automating the configuration of edge routers and channeling traffic to less expensive broadband use, businesses like retailers, restaurant chains, and bank franchises find easier ways to manage hundreds of small sites and create cost-effective bandwidth to access cloud storage and applications, all while ensuring security and performance. Network performance results include:

  • Lower Cost—By employing more broadband and fewer private links, the endpoint monitoring automatically provisions packet deliveries using the most efficient configuration for the least cost.
  • Decreased Complexity—Routing protocols choose the best method and stick with it, and they won’t react to packet loss or congested links without external manipulation. SD-WAN dynamically routes traffic according to immediate network conditions. It’s still complex, but there’s less work required to maintain optimum performance.
  • Increased Flexibility—This technology allows businesses to utilize the most cost-effective form of path calculation. Mission critical or SLA-bound applications are routed through the virtual MPLS, which also manages bandwidth consumption, while other apps, backup WAN, and traffic without asymmetric routing can be transmitted through less expensive public cloud.

SD-WAN services better align enterprise networks for optimum performance. By delivering secure, business class connections using cloud-based WAN in a software-defined environment, companies receive better performance, security, and provisioning without the high costs of legacy hardware.

How the Right Cloud Model Can Energize Network Performance and Lower OPEX

As the typical business paradigm shifts further and further from the traditional 9-to-5 atmosphere, more and more companies are recognizing the power of cloud model options to deliver performance results. Since many critical business operations rely on specific applications, cloud computing offers an affordable networking tool that is designed for instant scalability. Yet there is still a lot of confusion concerning the best could solution for a particular business.

Understanding how private, public, and hybrid cloud systems are utilized helps clear up the confusion that surrounds implementation. Real-world scenarios bring to light the advantages and drawbacks of cloud computing and demonstrate how businesses can energize their network performance using specific cloud models.

Public Cloud Uses and Benefits

One of the most attractive elements of cloud integration is the ability to lower operating costs. Since infrastructure management essentially shifts to the provider, companies can alter their focus toward marketing projects, better customer service metrics, and increased efficiency. In fact, many SMBs initialize their network in a virtual environment because the capital expenditure is too large for the internal hardware required. Additional cases for public implementation include:

  • When speed is required for mobility — The global coverage and heightened speed make a public cloud model perfect for mobile sales, delivery personnel, or customer interactions.
  • When low cost storage is required — Businesses can use public storage to archive social media content and other non-sensitive data
  • Disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) structures — This option provides convenient, affordable backup for all types of processes, using virtual machines in order to meet time and recovery point objectives.

With public cloud options, companies “share” infrastructure space on the provider’s physical hardware, which allows them to scale capacities and computing power according to specific need. This type of flexibility is perfect for seasonal and service-based businesses.

Private Cloud—Enhanced Security

With a private infrastructure model, the cloud offers greater agility, confidentiality, and integrity. The security risks associated with public cloud breaches are mitigated using a private cloud model. Cases that require private options include:

  • Small, predictable applications that could be operated in the cloud to save space or costs
  • Managing large amounts of video content
  • Where security concerns and compliance regulations concerning sensitive information are required

Private cloud model options allow business to engage a trusted third-party provider to house and manage their computing and maintenance needs for a lower cost of use.


Hybrid Models

With a hybrid solution, businesses can maintain a private physical infrastructure along with virtual machines to enhance internal performance. It essentially delivers the best of both options, providing a way to maintain confidential data and processes while transferring certain applications to the cloud. Hybrid cloud model solutions are excellent for:

  • Decreasing fixed operating costs
  • Handling rapid growth without incurring heavy hardware costs
  • Building networking solutions that maximize resources and performance

Choosing the right cloud model for a particular business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By speaking with a professional provider, moving to the cloud can be painless and profitable.