SD-LAN builds on the foundations of SD architectures to create enterprise networks that are adaptable, easy to manage and integrate into the rest of the network infrastructure. IDC describes SDN as follows: “data center SDN architectures feature software-defined overlays or controllers that are abstracted from the underlying network hardware, offering intent- or policy-based management of the network as a whole.” This creates a data center network that is “better aligned with the needs of application workloads through automated (thereby faster) provisioning, programmatic network management, pervasive application-oriented visibility and, where needed, direct integration with cloud orchestration platforms.
SDN isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution or a silver bullet for issues that arise on the enterprise network. Additionally, LAN and WAN have significant differences, and SDN must be applied accordingly. While SD-WAN tends to focus on connecting multiple sites, SD-LAN hones in on devices connecting to the network through a Wi-Fi or wired network. Both, however, can complement each other.
For campus Wi-Fi networks, SD-LAN addresses deployment and visibility problems head-on. SD-LAN can monitor services, access and usage on networks and prepare for any necessary upgrades to handle wireless users’ requirements. SD-LAN offers highly-secure, identity-driven access, segmenting the network and defining the users, things and devices that can access it. Access can be granted or revoked at a granular level, such as setting up guest Wi-Fi groups.
The appeal of SD-LAN is that it automates arduous switch configurations. Wherever networks are being deployed, SD-LAN will automatically compute the switch ports, which eliminates the need for technical staff on site. It can also provide complete visibility and transparency of all the devices and events on a network, providing a 360-degree view of the IT estate.
With IDC forecasting that there will be 80 billion connected devices by 2025, identifying devices and their usage within the enterprise network will be crucial. SD-LAN’s ability to segment the network based on the connected device will be crucial in driving performance and enhancing security across the network.
Harnessing the power of SDN-LAN
The data center and enterprise LAN market is maturing, according to IHS Markit. SDN revenue is expected to hit $15.8 billion in 2022. Cisco takes the number one spot in in-use SDN revenue.
Cisco is continuously making developments in the area of SD and has recently joined forces with Orange Business to help enterprises transform their LANs into powerful, flexible and agile SD-LANs. Orange and Cisco are working together with customers to create SD-LAN solutions in the Orange Open Labs program, which is designed to address individual customers’ business challenges and use cases with network automation, analytics and security. This provides a safe environment to explore SD-LAN possibilities.
“Leveraging our proven success with Flexible SD-WAN, we aim to create an end-to-end networking journey in an optimized, adaptable enterprise network environment,” explains Anne-Marie Thiollet, Vice President of Connectivity Solutions at Orange Business.
“Building on our collaboration with Orange around intent-based networking (IBN), we are now expanding from SD-WAN to SD-LAN, delivering multi-domain segmentation, automation and analytics,” adds Sachin Gupta, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Enterprise Networking, Cisco.
Gartner defines IBN as “lifecycle management software for networking infrastructure.” The appeal of IBN is that it automates network management with a proactive approach.
SD-LAN: Managing the connected world
SD-LAN is without a doubt a powerful solution, enabling enterprises to keep up with the continuous and dynamic changes to their networks driven by the Internet of Things (IoT) and an ever-increasing number of mobile users.
SD-LAN is in the early stages of its development – but watch this space. It has the potential to instill intelligence into every corner of the network, adding enhanced security, scalability and network management.
Editor in Chief, International, at Orange Business. I'm in charge of our International website and the English language blogs at Orange Business. In my spare time I'm literally captain of my own ship, spending my time on the wonderful rivers and canals of England.