Present-day enterprise IT infrastructure technologies are designed to enable hyperscale disruption by using software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) over traditional WAN technologies.
Cloud computing empowers organizations to provision servers and compute highly scalable workloads on demand, while big data technologies help organizations access, store and process an exploding deluge of digital information to deliver actionable insights in real-time.
Traditional Wide Area Network (WAN) technologies designed for standard networking operations cannot meet the required standards of high bandwidth and low latency network performance for hyperscale IT use cases.
Traditional WAN layout essentially contains hub-and-spoke design variants based on natural data traffic flow patterns. As in-house datacenters consolidate and new digital communication services such as VoIP are introduced, organizations adopt varying network topologies to scale their IT infrastructure. This leads to sub-optimal network design that’s complex, inefficient, and unnecessarily expensive for scalable enterprise IT applications. Limitations around traditional WAN networking operations are therefore not only an engineering and IT problem, but a business problem.
The solution here is to decouple networking services from the underlying WAN infrastructure and automate the process of WAN configurations based on evolving, scalable and often unpredictable networking requirements. This is exactly what Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) does for you.
The technology itself is evolving rapidly and it’s a bit too early to confine it with a limited definition as it enters the phase of large-scale adoption and maturity. The technology essentially includes central management of network branches logically connected to each other across a physical WAN infrastructure. Research firm Gartner highlights the key functional attributes of the SD-WAN technology:
- Enables dynamic path selection capabilities to optimize load sharing across the physical WAN based on traffic type and applications.
- Multiple connection types are supported – individually as well as hybrid WAN connections – including Frame Relay, MPLS, high speed LTE and Internet, among others.
- Zero-touch deployment and automation capabilities such that any non-technical personnel can bring communication links up and running in an instant.
- Supports third-party services including VPN, firewalls, gateways, and WAN Optimization Controllers.
The Value Proposition
These capabilities, lacking in a traditional WAN setup, enable the following value propositions for business organizations:
- Simplified Networking: Instead of connecting physical edge devices and configuring new traffic pathways manually every time you need to scale your IT workloads, SD-WAN enables automated and zero-touch provisioning from a centralized dashboard.
- High Scalability: Establish new branch connectivity with multiple links and services that interoperate and coexist within a single physical WAN infrastructure.
- Optimized Network Cost: SD-Wan offers high network performance efficiency and reduces provisioning time. Cost is further optimized as organizations can establish decoupled physical WAN infrastructure using the most cost-effective hardware options available out there, without running into vendor lock-in or integration concerns. All network connections are leveraged to maximum performance capacity.
- Low Risk: Dependence on individual components is reduced as network software services are decoupled from the underlying physical infrastructure. Single points of failure are eliminated and traffic is routed dynamically based on performance and connection availability.
- Flexibility: Traffic routing takes place automatically in real-time based on application requirements and pre-defined metrics such as latency, jitter, etc.
- High Security: End-to-end security is enabled as organizations can encrypt WAN traffic, segment sensitive network paths and identify anomalous data transmission activities faster.
- Business Policies at Orchestration Level: Organizations can configure traffic routing, prioritization and security based on strategic business objectives.
With these value propositions, next-generation network connectivity technologies empower organizations to navigate the challenges involving cloud computing, big data and mobility as they pursue hyperscale business growth. SD-WAN allows organizations to:
- establish transport-independent network design,
- intelligent and dynamic path routing,
- faster application performance, and
- granular security controls.
These attributes form the foundation of modern hyperscale IT infrastructure that facilitate fast-paced growth for organizations aiming to reach an ever-expanding, connected and global target market.