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What is Software-Defined WAN?

Increasing amounts of data are being transferred among data centres, cloud environments, branch offices and other remote locations, driven by data analytics, media traffic, storage demand and backup. This traffic creates the need to optimise the performance of Wide Area Networks (WAN) and the applications that run on them. 

Virtualisation has revolutionised the data centre, and now the next step is to revolutionise networks. Software defined networking allows network administrators to virtualise their networking hardware and bring added agility and cost savings.

How does SD WAN work?

An SD WAN operates by measuring essential network traffic metrics, such as latency, packet loss, jitter, and availability. Using this data, the SD WAN can respond proactively to real time network conditions, selecting the optimal path for each data packet.

Advantages of a Software Defined WAN

Agility

SD-WAN routers can combine the bandwidth of multiple WAN connections. Organisations using SD-WANs can easily add or remove WAN connections as needed. Under SD-WAN implementation, bandwidth can easily be added or reduced as requirements evolve. The technology also allows the rapid deployment of WAN services to a remote site without the need to dispatch IT staff to the location.

Cost

Internet links are generally much less expensive than carrier-grade MPLS connections, which are typically encumbered by a long provisioning times and expensive contracts. SD-WAN technology also allows organisations to effectively leverage all the available network connections to their full capacity without worrying about maintaining idle backup links.

Reliability

MPLS networks typically offer high packet delivery. Internet uplinks, on the other hand often fail. To compensate for this fact, many organisations that move entirely to SD-WAN choose to order multiple internet links from different providers to maintain a high chance of reliability. In the case of link failure.

Better Security

Unlike traditional WAN solutions, which handle security through multiple appliances at each office location. SD-WAN can include all of these functions in box and at a lower cost. SD-WAN can integrate with a cloud web content filtering service too, and often malware defences and botnet command-and-control intervention for each office location and remote devices.

Final Thoughts

The increasing availability, reliability and low cost of Internet connectivity means that by migrating WAN connectivity to incorporate a mixture of Public and Private connectivity could offer significant cost savings.

By implementing an SD-WAN solution, it is possible to smoothly migrate to a simple, manageable and cost-effective WAN infrastructure over a period of time. Planning the implementation correctly will remove the risk of a big bang approach, and by understanding the costs of current WAN circuits and contracts lengths, a planning phased migration can be performed quickly.

If you would like to know more about SD-WAN technologies, please call 01745 535 300. 

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