Even though an enterprise network is considered the lifeline of an organization, particular challenges have limited their efficiency. Malware threats, limited data replication performance, network availability, and sluggish network connectivity are all challenges that can immediately impact the business. Lumen Technologies recently surveyed IT decision makers and found that nine out of 10 put seamless integration of applications and their network as a top priority.
SD-WAN is the latest innovation in network technology that can solve many of these challenges.
SD-WAN, or Software-Defined Wide Area Network, is a virtual WAN architecture that enterprises utilize to leverage any useful combination of transport services. These can include LTE, MPLS, as well as broadband internet services. In short, it is a centralized software-based controlling function that intelligently and securely directs enterprise traffic across the enterprise network. SD-WAN increases application-level performance by improving user experience while reducing the associated technology costs.
Traditional WAN architectures are router-centric. While this worked in the past, the introduction of the cloud has created a paradigm shift concerning the exposure of an enterprise-wide network to external connectors.
In complete contrast, most challenges faced by an enterprise can be quickly resolved by implementing an SD-WAN solution.
SD-WAN’s strength lies in bringing together different technologies to create comprehensive private networks for your enterprise while sharing bandwidth across various connection points.
the SD-WAN model supports all applications hosted in data centers that are on-premise, private/public clouds, and even SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions like Office 365, Salesforce, etc. It delivers seamless access to these applications without compromising their performance.
The key features or capabilities of an SD-WAN architecture include ZTP (Zero-touch Provisioning) and centralized orchestration. ZTP enables programmed policies and configurations to be pushed to all branches automatically. It is highly beneficial for eliminating any manual errors.
Centralized Orchestration refers to the centralization of SD-WAN, application performance, and security policies, allowing the organization to increase its WAN efficiency and reduce the associated operational expenses.
Thanks to cloud technologies, network load and enterprise networks have increased tremendously. Traditionally designed WANs are unable to keep up because they were designed for applications that were primarily stored in data centers. This is certainly not the case today. Therefore, SD-WANs have become more necessary than ever to improve operational efficiency and keep end-users happy. Here are six modern networking challenges and how SD-WAN can solve them.
Data replication is essential to ensure the data security of the data storage process. Most companies today perform multilevel data tiered storage to help create a reliable and redundant backup. However, such large amounts of data replication consume immense network bandwidth causing network bottleneck
SD-WAN gives more choices in terms of data replication and disaster recovery. Rather than a tape-based backup, data centers can move to a WAN-based data transfer and replication. Data centers can transfer and replicate data over SD-WAN without experiencing issues like packet loss and high latency. Bandwidth limitations and congestion can be solved with the help of SD-WAN over the MPLS alternative. Data backup traffic can be routed to MPLS, offering fast, reliable, and affordable data backup.
Most organizations have their enterprise-wide networks connected to at least one cloud, if not more. This multi-cloud architecture can pose numerous challenges for the enterprise’s network. For instance, it can be difficult to manage different service providers or implement a standard integrated security policy for all these providers. Additionally, it is not easy to strike the correct balance between off-site and on-premise environments.
A proper SD-WAN implementation across the enterprise network can easily help overcome the challenges of connecting to multiple clouds. SD-WAN provides secure cloud connections that can adapt quickly to your changing cloud computing needs. You can:
In traditional network setups, it is common for every piece of data from remote locations to be tunneled into a central point (often the head office or main data center) for security screening. Then, those packets of information are sent to the broader internet. Traffic destined for the remote installation follows the reverse route. To achieve this type of exchange, networks have to be massively overprovisioned, with a dedicated MPLS between every remote installation and the central point.
SD-WAN has new security features with service chaining that optimize existing security infrastructure. It removes bottlenecks by intelligent routing and network segmentation. Centralized security policies can be implemented over the entire network. This not only saves time and reduces complexity but also brings down the overall operational/implementation cost and effort. By means of adequately managed SD-WAN, the right resources can be deployed to ensure safe connectivity for all users— regardless of location.
MPLS lines can cost a fortune and need significant investment to be fully realized. Network performance in MPLS is bandwidth dependent, and cost can increase exponentially. Moreover, MPLS lines require a significant initial investment to set up as well.
SD-WAN delivers performance benefits that include NaaS (Network as a Service) as well as WAN Virtualization. This allows the enterprise to utilize internet connections with optimized bandwidth usage. SD-WAN also offers network traffic visibility at the application level. Knowing exactly how the organization needs and wants to consume its data is necessary to provide for it cost-efficiently. Companies can cut costs simply by not over-provision for contingency’s sake. IDC reminds us that enterprise applications are now more distributed than they have ever been and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the users who access those same applications are now more distributed as well. Therefore, supporting a hybrid workforce using SD-WAN is now more important than ever.
Global enterprises that adopt MPLS are hard-pressed to construct their entire network from disparate providers around the world. Connectivity speeds and types differ across geographies, which means that network admins must manage and maintain a network riddled with inconsistency. They have to handle relationships with different vendors while managing separate contracts with each. And then, when you consider WAN Optimization, bandwidth scaling, and security, the system becomes even more complex and unwieldy.
Since SD-WAN works as an overlay to the enterprise’s existing network, it offers the required tools to expand while retaining stability and without any infrastructure re-configuration. It also offers scalability without any substantial infrastructure investments. This is all possible because SD-WAN uses:
BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, has gained traction, with users feeling more comfortable plugging their personal devices into the enterprise network. While the main aim of the BYOD strategy is to increase user satisfaction and efficiency levels, it is also most vulnerable to introducing malware and ransomware into your enterprise network.
SD-WAN gives you much-needed visibility and control over the network. It has in-built, real-time traffic monitoring support that can detect threats, send auto-alerts and allow organizations to respond quickly.
Managing the enterprise-wide network setup can be fairly challenging. However, simplifying management is one of the key features of an SD-WAN design. Administrative features like automatic path selection, central configuration for end appliances, etc., make it more reliable and convenient to manage and operate. It also allows the network controller to perform adaptive traffic engineering because of the central view of the network.
To summarize, SD-WAN can:
Carrierbid telecom consulting can bring SD-WAN to your organization in a way that fits your needs without adding to your cost. Our services are fully paid for by the SD-WAN service provider. We give you the benefit of specialized end-to-end SD-WAN management without adding to your bottom line. Contact us for a free consultation today!