What is SD-WAN?


What is SD-WAN?

Disruptive technologies challenge the assumptions which underpin established solutions, enabling better agility, easier deployment, faster performance often with reduced costs. 


Software Defined solutions are disruptive and are changing how organisations manage and consume technology. By abstracting the control of physical resources into virtual resources, resource allocations can be changed on the fly without ever touching hardware configurations.

Our role as trusted advisor to our customers is to evaluate the multitude of technologies on the market to position those we believe will bring our customers some real value.  SD-WAN is one which we are genuinely excited by.

Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is an innovative solution for secure enterprise WAN because it combines traditional WAN technologies, such as MPLS, with lower cost broadband and LTE (4G) connections. This allows organisations to route traffic to remote locations, multiple offices and Cloud applications and provides enhanced capabilities for monitoring and managing network traffic while reducing networking costs.

Understanding the options

Importantly, SD-WAN is not a complete replacement for MPLS and we wouldn’t recommend it in every scenario.

In most cases, it should be introduced in a phased approach to an existing WAN deployment to simplify WAN management and accelerate provisioning time while reducing costs.  Traditionally, MPLS solutions provided the backbone for many enterprise network architectures, primarily for its ability to manage services between major hubs, such as data centers.  However, it is not as well suited for branch offices, particularly if a business is frequently opening or moving offices as it lacks agility and ease of deployment along with longer lead time.

There are clear benefits of internet circuits like Broadband and DSL.  They are typically one-third to half the cost of MPLS links at comparable speeds, and internet services also have the advantages of wide availability and rapid provisioning times compared with MPLS.  To benefit from these internet-provided advantages, many organisations implement hybrid WAN architecture by dedicating MPLS links for mission-critical traffic and assigning internet connections for high-speed access to cloud- or SaaS-based applications, email, file transfers, storage and video applications.

The best fit for SD-WAN

SD-WAN adoption offers the advantages of business agility, increased security, improved application performance and lower bandwidth costs in many cases but particularly for distributed organisations with critical branch office operations.

We see the other key use case for SD-WAN being in organisations which have transitioned key business applications to Cloud based SaaS apps.  Organisations are understandably unwilling to accept performance compromises here and IT teams should consider implementing hybrid WAN architectures to capitalise on the performance and cost benefits of internet circuits.

Could SD-WAN be right for your organisation?

Call your Account Manager on 0345 345 1110 to claim your free assessment to find out whether your organisation could benefit from SD-WAN.  We will spend time understanding your objectives and current challenges before making our recommendations about which SD-WAN solution, if any, could bring benefits to your organisation. 

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