What Executives Need to Know about SD-WAN
Tired of being locked into expensive, complex, and restrictive contracts with a single carrier? Frustrated that access to the tools your team needs has gotten slower as things have moved to the cloud? Annoyed that seemingly simple changes to your workflows take forever to get implemented? Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) might be your answer.
What is SD-WAN?
Traditional wide area networks (the connections between your locations) were usually designed to route all traffic from branches through the corporate datacenter. SD-WAN is a set of technologies that allows organizations to move away from expensive, unwieldy, private MPLS and dedicated circuits to flexible, reliable, and high-performance environments that leverage lower-cost, commercially-available Internet access. It does this by separating the networking hardware from its management and control software, allowing your team to maximize its efficiency and take full advantage of your investments in cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.
Dedicated data connections between locations are expensive and typically require long-term contracts. They also tend to require a single carrier to be used at all locations for maximum benefit and cost containment, and often dictate expensive hardware at branch offices. SD-WAN changes that, allowing you to select the best connection type and carrier for each location – including broadband and other inexpensive circuit types – while running on cheaper, simpler hardware.
In addition to circuits, one of your biggest costs is your IT staff. Their time is valuable and extremely sought-after, so the reduction in management time required for SD-WANs compared to traditional architectures can return serious value to your organization.
Improve Performance for Cloud and Distributed Workforces
One of cloud’s billed advantages is simplicity – but it can dramatically increase complexity, unpredictability, and risk when it comes to connectivity. As organizations have moved from on-premises infrastructures to cloud-based applications – and their workforces have moved from being in the office or on campus to working from branches or remotely – the demands on the network have changed. No longer does routing everything through the headquarters/datacenter provide the best performance – now, links need to be customized and dynamic for the differences in each connection. MPLS was for campus/datacenter-centric world. SD-WAN is for a cloud-based world with distributed and diverse workforces.
SD-WAN allows business process changes to be implemented quickly and painlessly, from dynamically reassigning data paths to accommodating application needs as they increase and decrease, leveraging multiple carriers and connection types that make sense for individual locations and needs as they arise.
Reduce Risk and Simplify Operations
Adding carrier diversity to protect the uptime of your access is no problem with SD-WAN. Select a primary and secondary carrier for each location so that even if one carrier experiences an outage, your users won’t bat an eyelash.
Is your IT staff stressed out about scrambling to reconfigure your connections when something goes wrong? Let SD-WAN make those changes automatically, reducing downtime and putting less strain on your resources. Oh, and planned changes can be made centrally and pushed out to branches and remote locations – no need to touch lots of gear at each edge – making security (including Secure Access Service Edge [SASE], an emerging IT security best practice) a consistent discipline that can be applied in moments rather than weeks.
SD-WAN reduces costs, improves performance, increases agility, mitigates risk, simplifies operations, and optimizes for SaaS and cloud-based applications by separating WAN management from hardware and dedicated circuits.
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