At the moment, there are between 60 and 70 companies that claim they do SD-WAN. This can be confusing for a lot of users, as it leads us to assume that all SD-WAN providers are equal. However, SD-WAN is not the same. The supplier you use makes a difference.
In fact, Gartner, which is the world’s leading research and advisory company, only recommends using three SD-WAN providers. Silver Peak is one of them. Out of the three recommended, Silver Peak is the only company that has WAN optimization as an integral component of their solution.
With the two other companies, you would need to purchase extra products in order to react to the changing environment. When you consider the significant shift to the cloud, it is more important to optimize WAN than ever before.
In this blog post, we are going to take a look at SD-WAN in further detail. We will explain what it is, why it matters to your business, and why forward-thinking businesses like Williams choose Silver Peak as their SD-WAN provider.
What is SD-WAN?
There is only one place to begin, and this is by explaining what SD-WAN is. This is a software-defined approach to the management of the wide-area network (WAN). This may not mean a lot to you, so let’s take a look at the traditional WAN and why today’s IT challenges have demanded a new approach.
The traditional WAN function involved users being connected at the campus or brand to applications that were hosted on servers located in data centres. To ensure that the connection was reliable and secure, dedicated MPLS circuits were utilised. This approach is no longer effective.
Why? Well, times have changed. Companies today are racing to adopt the use of IaaS/SaaS applications in a number of clouds. WAN networks were not designed for this area. They were not ready for cloud adoption and the explosion of WAN traffic that occurred because of it. This traffic resulted in data vulnerability, application performance unpredictability, and management complexity.
Protecting critical assets became a huge challenge when a diverse workforce would be accessing all of these applications. This drove a need for a new type of WAN, which is how SD-WAN came about.
SD stands for software-defined. It’s based on the notion that with software, you can pretty much do anything, so long as there is an end-to-end approach. SD-WAN is a fresh approach to network connectivity that reduces operational expenses while improving the use of resources for multisite deployments.
SD-WAN has enabled network administrators to be able to use bandwidth more efficiently. This helps to make certain that performance levels are optimal for critical applications while data privacy and security are not compromised.
What are the benefits of SD-WAN?
There are a number of different benefits that are associated with SD-WAN, so let’s take a look at some of the main ones in further detail…
Improved security levels
The first benefit is enhanced security levels. Threat prevention is enforced at the correct place. The architecture of SD-WAN features distributed security at the branch level. This means that in order to benefit from advanced security protection, such as intrusion prevention, DNS enforcement, and a firewall, the data is not going to need to travel back to the data centre or the headquarters. This increases security by a considerable degree.
Enhanced user experience
Management is simplified
The third benefit we are going to take a look at is the simplification of management. As a cloud-delivered and centralised WAN architecture, SD-WAN means that scaling across thousands of endpoints is easy and straightforward. This is the case no matter whether they are in the cloud or in campus or branch. Using just a single management interface, IT has the capability to automate zero-touch deployment on a worldwide basis.
When you consider the fact that we live in a very much cloud-centric world today, it is important that SD-WAN is fully in tune with this. You can expect WAN to be seamlessly extended to numerous public clouds. You will also be able to make the most of real-time optimised performance for major SaaS applications, including Salesforce and Office 365. You will also be able to make the most of optimised workflows for cloud platforms like Azure and AWS.
Aside from the benefits that have already been discussed, you can also expect extensibility to third party products through service chaining, micro-segmentation, as well as being able to assure business intent with advanced application control and visibility. Application performance also improves and you will be able to make the most of greater business responsiveness and agility. Finally, you can also lower WAN OPEX and CAPEX.
Why Silver Peak for SD-WAN?
Hopefully, you now have a good understanding of what SD-WAN is and why this matters for your business. Nevertheless, as touched upon in the introduction, there are between 60 and 70 companies today who claim to do SD-WAN at their business. This can lead people to assume that all SD-WANs are the same.
This is not the case. You must choose a provider with care. We have already established that router-centric WAN has hit a wall and cannot keep up in the modern-day. However, basic SD-WAN offerings also fall short. They are not good enough to provide you with the delivery that you need.
This is why you need to choose an SD-WAN provider with a huge amount of consideration and caution. Most business owners would agree that Silver Peak is the best option.
One of the key differences between Silver Peak and the other companies claiming to provide SD-WAN services is that Silver Peak has a business-first networking model. This means that businesses are able to realise their full transformational promise of the cloud through liberating applications.
With this approach, it means that businesses do not need to conform to the limits and the constraints of the network. Rather, the network will enable the business.
The network will become the accelerant for your company. It is continuous and completely automated, meaning that every application is going to get all of the resources that it truly requires in order to make sure that IT and end-users benefit from optimal quality levels.
One of the key differences between Silver Peak and the other providers that are on the market at the moment is that Silver Peak is the only company out of the top three to provide WAN optimization. This means that you are able to maximize the bandwidth available to you and accelerate your applications.
With other companies, WAN optimization is only carried out per device. This can get very expensive. You are going to have to pay for support and licensing per site, which inflates your IT costs and your overhead.
You would also have management issues, as everything would be separate. This means that your appliances are manually configured across all sites. This makes operational complexity much more amplified. And, of course, this is an extremely limited approach, as you do not have the ability to accelerate applications on a granular basis across WAN.
These are all things that you do not need to worry about with Silver Peak. Instead, you can make the most of unified WAN optimization in a platform that has been built for the cloud and is business-driven.
In reality, this is much more economical. Licensing occurs in 100 Mpg increments, and it is applied only where it is needed across the WAN. WAN optimization performance also delivers on-demand application acceleration, as everything is unified.
This solution from Silver Peak is also a lot more flexible too. This is because WAN optimisation can be applied on a site or application basis and all it takes is one click of your mouse.
All in all, it is not hard to see why SD-WAN has become so critical in today’s world. There are many benefits associated with going down this route, and it is not hard to see why the traditional WAN has become ineffective in today’s cloud-centric world. However, one thing that is critical to recognise is that not all SD-WAN providers are the same. It is imperative to select with care. And, as you can see, Silver Peak is most definitely at the top when it comes to this.
Your business needs to be able to flexibly secure and connect users to applications via the most cost-effective connectivity available.
Wavenet’s SD-WAN solutions augment and replace MPLS networks with secure broadband Internet connectivity, dramatically reducing WAN costs and complexity.
Benefit from unprecedented levels of visibility, control and security, whilst improving application and network performance.
At Wavenet, we future-proof technology. Protecting your business for today and tomorrow. Our SD-WAN solutions do just that, making your business brilliant.