Enterprise networking is a communications model that connects workstations, data centres and company branches across disparate geographical locations. The objective of enterprise networking is to put an end to isolated workstations and facilitate collaboration without geographical boundaries acting as a barrier. Enterprise networking works through WAN technology, like T-1 or MPLS. However, WAN technology is not perfect and many companies have started looking for alternative networking models. SD-WAN is one of these alternatives.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN applies software-defined networking to WAN technologies like 4G and MPLS. SD-WAN connects data centres, workstations, and branches across geographical differences. It works the same way as WAN, but with one difference. WAN requires special proprietary hardware, while SD-WAN uses the internet or a native cloud network. Thus, SD-WAN can be viewed as an upgrade on the conventional WAN technology.
SD-WAN relies on four central components: Elastic Traffic Management, WAN Virtualisation, Edge Connectivity Abstraction, and centralised management. The main difference between SD-WAN and conventional WAN is the incorporation of the internet and native cloud in creating an enterprise network.
Why Should Companies Invest In SD-WAN?
SD-Wan has captured the attention of the business world because it enhances the value of business networks. There are several benefits associated with SD-WAN, which include:
Lower operating costs
Companies are looking for ways to lower operating costs and adopting an SD-Wan is the best way to do that. WAN requires proprietary technology, which is very expensive to set up. By comparison, SD-WAN uses broadband internet and cloud-based software making it more affordable. Since SD-WAN does not require property technology, it is more affordable to set up and maintain. Furthermore, SD-WAN simplifies networking management.
Many companies use a multi-cloud strategy where they use a combination of private and public clouds. With SD-WAN, companies can manage these clouds from a single platform. Thus, operating costs are lower and resources used more efficiently.
More stable connection
In addition to lowering operating costs, SD-WAN also maximises resource efficiency. Companies whose enterprise network is built on SD-WAN will get a faster more stable connection. For example, if a company is using an MPLS network to transfer data, an SD-WAN will use low-cost broadband to build encrypted VPN tunnels. MPLS networks will pass through these VPN tunnels to complete a transfer.
SD-WAN will select the best tunnel for the MPLS transaction, based on latency, jitter and available bandwidth on each path. The tunnel is selected because SD-WAN is monitoring the passage of data packets through the tunnels. SD-WAN will monitor the VPN tunnels for packet losses and try to minimise the impact of these losses. In addition, SD-WAN will aggregate the bandwidth across all connections to be used across a single connection.
Improve data security
SD-WAN provides an upgrade in data security, a crucial feature many companies look into. As more and more enterprises depend on the cloud for their data usage, the demand for better security grows. SD-WAN builds on the security features already present in WAN and adds to the features to create an incredibly robust security system.
Companies are already working with third parties to build security features like web filters, firewalls to improve branch to cloud security. Furthermore, security can be overlayed or integrated to be service chained for additional data protection. In addition, companies can implement security features that protect data transactions on a per application or traffic type basis. Thus, companies investing in SD-WAN can build an intricate web of security to protect data transactions.
Types of SD-WAN
SD-WAN comes in three different categories:
- Managed service SD-WAN
- Internet-based SD-WAN
Managed service SD-WAN
A company will pay a service provider to set up an SD-WAN model. The corporation will have to sign a service-level agreement because they are investing in a value-added service.
As the name implies, companies will acquire SD-WAN as a consumption model. Instead of investing in an SD-WAN infrastructure, or paying a service provider, corporations can choose the model that best suits them. Therefore, corporations can combine the security of a private network but with a more flexible model and affordable pricing.
Which SD-WAN model is best suited to enterprises?
The best SD-WAN model depends on the company’s own requirements because each model comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, SD-WAN as a service offers private network connectivity and WAN optimisation but only a handful of providers offer the service.
By contrast, SD WAN as a managed service will enjoy consistent speed and stability in internet connections but will have to pay for other functions like WAN optimisation. Therefore, companies have to consider their requirements from a data network before choosing an SD-WAN model.
Corporations use WAN technology to build their enterprise networks. SD-WAN implements software networking to WAN, thus providing companies with a more cost-effective means of building their own enterprise network. Companies should invest in SD-WAN because it offers several benefits like lower operating costs and better data security.
Learn more about the latest developments in the software industry, right here at Net Affinity.
|Want to learn more about how SD-WAN can help your business?