It is likely at this point that you have heard the term SD-WAN as the latest buzzword in the networking world and there is a good reason for it, as it is the future for networking. As a growing number of vendors have adopted the term, if you haven’t already, you are likely to be hearing of it soon. Gartner predicts that 30% of users will be managing their WAN through software within 3 years. So, are you network-ready for tomorrow?
The death of MPLS
MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) has traditionally been the Wide Area Networking solution of choice for most organisations, but with the advent of the cloud and Software as a Service (Office 365, Dropbox, Salesforce), MPLS is starting to limit performance and network efficiency. This is where SD-WAN comes into play.
SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) currently has less than 1% market share, but is fast becoming recognised as a disruptive game-changer, with WAN optimisation specialists Silver Peak leading the way. In fact, IDC (International Data Corporation) estimates a compound annual growth rate of more than 90% by 2020.
What is SD-WAN?
Before we explain why SD-WAN will become critical to your IT strategy, let’s define what SD-WAN really is.
There are many different names for SD-WAN including overlay, over the top, cloud WAN and hybrid among others, but with all the same aim to cut down network costs and enhance performance. SD-WAN is a virtual WAN overlay, used to connect enterprise networks over multiple sites and is the next step in intelligence. It is an alternative approach to designing and deploying enterprise WANs, to reduce or eliminate the dependency on MPLS.
So, why is SD-WAN critical to your IT strategy?
Wide area networks are the backbone of enterprises and with many businesses now wanting to move at cloud speed, new challenges are being presented to IT departments. SD-WAN holds a great promise to enterprises and the early adopters are already seeing the benefits. The promise includes reducing the dependency on costly MPLS, guaranteeing a reliable, consistent performance for business application users, whilst increasing your visibility and control across your enterprise. All these features make it easier to manage, operate and maintain your WAN. What could be more important to your network strategy?
Unprecedented levels of visibility
SD-WAN offers unprecedented levels of visibility in both legacy and cloud applications, provides you with the ability to centrally assign business intent policies to secure and control your WAN traffic. This network visibility and monitoring enables performance predictions and allows preventative measures to be taken. As a result of the greater control and visibility over the network, user experience and QoS will also be improved. Additionally, this visibility will cut down the MTTR (mean time to resolve) as one of the main aspects of resolving a problem is identifying it in the first place. Simple network monitoring for congestions is now made easy and latency, packet loss and Jitter can also be detected and measured. In cases of congestions, the SD-WAN forwarder provides intelligent path selections across WAN links and can switch you to another path with better performance.
With Gartner recognising the Silver Peak solution as the leader in WAN Optimisation in 2016, you can be assured we would be a good place to start when reviewing your wide area network. If this article has been of interest however you still have some questions, please contact our team and we would be happy to help