Geographically-distributed enterprises with offices across global locations are adopting SD-WAN because it lowers the cost and complexity of WANs, supports increased use of the internet, makes business operations more agile and increases overall productivity.
SD-WAN enables enterprises to create hybrid networks that combine multiple technologies, including the internet, by separating the control of traffic from the delivery tools. It routes traffic across the best path, based on rules specified by the IT department, including real-time availability. The data can be easily and efficiently controlled via a cloud-based control panel.
For the majority of enterprises, the need for WAN transformation becomes crucial as they adopt cloud services. “There is no way, for example, that your organization can cost-effectively support the delivery of cloud-based applications and services on WAN architectures that were designed and built for a client-server era in which all applications were resident in enterprise data centers,” explains IDC. The analyst firm believes that SD-WAN’s value proposition, driven by the growth in cloud computing, the need for VPN capabilities and the necessity to reduce MPLS costs, will make a compelling case to enterprises to shift to SD-WAN looking for “cost-effective cloud-era networking to branch offices and remote sites”.
MPLS and SD-WAN working together
The big strength of SD-WANs is that they can mix and match different approaches, and this includes MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching). Rather than pushing MPLS out of the picture, which was first mooted when SD-WAN emerged on the scene, they actually work well together as a team.
With MPLS alone, traffic is sent via a specified route path. SD-WAN can make MPLS more flexible by using MPLS paths and adding additional ones, such as the internet. MPLS capacity can be used for mission-critical, high-security traffic, for example, with other traffic offloaded to the internet, thereby reducing costs.
SD-WAN is already helping enterprises make branch office deployment easier and improve connectivity to both the cloud and data centers by providing zero-touch provisioning and simplified management. This has all helped to enhance performance, whilst reduce the cost of maintaining a hybrid WAN network.
Enterprises that have yet to understand the benefits of updating their network infrastructures to accommodate SD-WAN will fast do so. As IDC says: “If your WAN hasn’t changed yet, digital transformation and the cloud will soon make you cognizant of its inherent limitations.”
Find out more about how Orange Business Services is strengthening its hybrid network offering with SD-WAN technology along with its partner Riverbed Technology here.
Jan has been writing about technology for over 22 years for magazines and web sites, including ComputerActive, IQ magazine and Signum. She has been a business correspondent on ComputerWorld in Sydney and covered the channel for Ziff-Davis in New York.