Is it time to make the switch to SD-LAN?

Software-defined local area networks (SD-LANs) promise much in terms of security, flexibility and scalability to network management. Enterprises that have SD-LAN on their radar are asking if the time is right to make the switch.

Some enterprises are skeptical about having a software defined approach to managing their networks. Like the PBX to IP telephony migration of old, there is the big question: why change something if it is reliable, stable and works? However, with increasing amounts of data in enterprise environments, traditional networks will find it almost impossible to cope with increasingly complex workloads and higher security demands.

SD-LAN provides the flexibility, agility, scalability and insights that a digital future necessitates. From a network administrator’s standpoint, it will better address user demands through enhanced provisioning and simplified network maintenance, as well as enhanced security and event correlation in day-to-day operations.

IDC predicts that by 2023, 60% of large enterprises will have adopted software defined multicloud networks. The main drivers are operational efficiency, consistent security and network policies across hybrid IT environments. SDN is able to overcome limits to business agility as application and infrastructure requirements can be scaled.

Beating disruption

Pre-COVID business and operating models could have been improved by making digitization efforts in certain areas. Now the path is very different, according to Gartner. Organizations must speed up digital business or risk their survival. Software defined networking is key in ensuring the resilience and robustness of the network in this highly connected world.

SD-LAN exploits the central principles of software defined networking (SDN) in the data center and SD-WAN to provide several major benefits to wired and wireless local area networks. These include centralized management, application optimization, dynamic bandwidth sharing and cost efficiencies. This is realized while providing mission-critical business continuity to the network’s access layer.

For campus Wi-Fi networks, SD-LAN can help to address deployment and visibility issues. It can monitor services, access and usage on the network, for example, and prepare for any upgrades that wireless users may require.

SD-LAN extends the scope of software defined networking to create centrally managed, self-healing and self-optimized networks. One of the appealing factors to IT teams is SD-LAN’s ability to automate laborious and sometimes complex switch configurations, which means that technicians are not required on site. In addition, SD-LAN can provide visibility of all the devices on the network and a 360-degree view of the entire IT estate.

Cloud managed SD-LANs also benefit from reduced cost and complexity of network operations through centralized public or private networking. Open application programming interfaces (APIs) allow for solid integration between the network and application infrastructure.

Prepared for uncertainty

The extraordinary times in which we now live have underscored the importance of security, scalability and agility in keeping businesses running in a crisis. Network transformation is now a critical part of the digitization process.

Increased automation and centrally managed SD-LANs, together with advanced security capabilities, are essential in providing organizations with the flexibility they need to actively compete in the digital economy.

To help organizations rapidly reap the benefits of SD-LAN, Orange has joined forces with Cisco to create a centrally-managed wired and wireless architecture that is easy to integrate and run. Leveraging the success of Orange Flexible SD-WAN, the project will ultimately create an end-to-end networking journey that delivers an optimized, adaptable enterprise network environment.

Orange and Cisco are building on their existing SD-WAN work to develop software defined SD-LAN solutions in the Orange Open Labs program, which allows organizations to explore connectivity options in a safe environment. The solutions will be tailored to address individual customers’ business challenges around automation, analytics and security.

Time to get SD-LAN ready

The LAN has now become the entry point into the IT infrastructure. The number of connected devices and amount of data that enterprises are dealing with are growing exponentially, alongside ever increasing security demands. SD-LAN can address these challenges and is set to become the standard for LAN networks as more services move to the cloud.

SD-LAN can help your enterprise work faster and smarter, providing secure, anytime, any device, anywhere access and the all-important consistent, high-quality user experience. Starting your move to an agile SD-LAN will put you in the driving seat.

Learn more about connectivity solutions from Orange Business Services.

Pierre-Marie Binvel
Pierre-Marie Binvel

Pierre-Marie is the Head of the Connectivity Business Unit for Europe at Orange Business Services. His team is responsible for accompanying Orange Business Services customers in their business digital transformation through the development of innovative, versatile and future-proof, global connectivity solutions.