Any organization with multiple branch offices needs connectivity between those locations.
Traditionally, organizations have used MPLS for WAN connectivity due to its reliability and
performance. Those capabilities come at a steep price, however — MPLS is significantly more
expensive than broadband and fiber-optic Internet connections. The costs go up for
organizations with a global footprint, and those that need a lot of bandwidth.
MPLS is a complex deployment. It takes a minimum of two to three weeks to get connectivity
for any given location — more if you must provision links from service providers in different
regions of the world. What’s more, WANs based upon MPLS is designed for connectivity to
the enterprise data center, not directly to cloud applications and services. Individual locations
must connect to the data center to reach the cloud, which can cause unpredictable application
Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) came into the picture to address these challenges. SD-WAN
adds a software layer that abstracts and simplifies WAN connectivity. You can have multiple
WAN connections of any type, be it MPLS or broadband or even 4G / LTE. SD-WAN creates an
overlay that aggregates these physical connections to provide every user with a high-quality
experience. Each location gets a high-performance, highly available connection even if there is
network congestion or the link speed isn’t that high.
With a traditional WAN infrastructure, there are a lot of physical devices that must be installed
at each site and managed individually. With SD-WAN, there is just one device at the edge that
can be deployed in minutes and managed remotely. And SD-WAN is a pay-as-you-grow service
— customers can readily add locations and upgrade their infrastructure according to their
needs and budget.
Any WAN connection can be subject to outages, slowdowns, packet loss and other issues that
can impact applications. This is especially problematic with latency-sensitive applications such
as voice over IP, video conferencing, streaming media and virtual desktops. SD-WAN uses traffic
shaping and other techniques to provide assured application performance. It’s also application-
aware, which means that it can prioritize latency-sensitive applications and automatically select
the best data path based upon application requirements and network conditions.
SD-WAN also improves security. It can act as a VPN gateway, making it easier to set up VPN
tunnels between the locations. Best-in-class SD-WAN solutions incorporate other security
features as well.
Which brings us back to cost. With SD-WAN, organizations can connect branch locations
directly to the Internet without worrying about reliability, performance, and security. And that direct Internet connection is going to be much more efficient when it comes to accessing cloud
applications and services.
Gartner has predicted that by 2023 almost 90 percent of WAN edge infrastructure will be on
SD-WAN. But is it right for your organization? You should consider SD-WAN if:
– Your connectivity contracts are coming up for renewal. Many organizations find that
connectivity cost savings more than pays for the SD-WAN implementation.
– The edge devices in your branch locations are due for an upgrade, or your IT team is
struggling to manage all those devices.
– You’re moving more applications and services to the cloud.
– You have a growing number of branch locations that require highly reliable, high-
performance connectivity. Global organizations can especially benefit from SD-WAN.
Rahi Systems has experts in networking, security, virtualization, and software-defined data
center solutions. We have relationships with leading SD-WAN vendors and our engineers are
certified in the delivery of their products. If you’re considering SD-WAN, we can help you
determine if it’s the right choice and design a solution that will meet your requirements.