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Traditional WANs fall short mainly because backhauling all traffic, including cloud-bound traffic from branch offices to centralized headquarters, introduces latency that hampers application performance. SD-WAN solves this issue with streamlined WAN architecture, lower costs, bandwidth efficiency, and seamless on-ramp to the cloud. A centralized management portal makes it easy to onboard new sites, assign paths for critical applications, and perform software and firmware upgrades. It also enables admins to monitor WAN performance from one dashboard.
Streamlined WAN Architecture
SD-WAN is a new networking solution that decouples the logical topology from the physical infrastructure. The result is a flexible, affordable network that supports the agile needs of today’s enterprises. This flexibility delivers various benefits, including centralized management and optimization of traffic routing, cost savings, enhanced security, improved performance, and a seamless path to the cloud. Traditional WAN architecture backhauls data from branch offices to headquarters over private connections like MPLS or VPNs and then from there to the Internet. This introduces latency and creates a subpar user experience. Still, SD-WAN solutions, like Versa Networks, can eliminate this issue by allowing traffic to burst directly to the Internet via a direct-to-internet (DIA) connection at each branch office. As a bonus, the centralized control function of an SD-WAN allows it to prioritize traffic and route across different paths in real-time. This means business-critical applications get priority over other traffic and are always guaranteed high performance. The technology is also transport agnostic, making it compatible with any data service. This includes LAN, 4G/5G, or broadband internet. This is a significant benefit for remote working as teams will have different connectivity options. The system can also work alongside existing Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks to prioritize data and deliver a seamless connection to the cloud for all team members.
Cost-Effective Bandwidth Utilization
When business is conducted over the Internet, you can rely on SD-WAN to automatically prioritize and direct traffic to the best path. Critical applications are constantly accessible over a reliable connection, boosting productivity and morale. Traditional WANs use physical routers comprising a data plane (forwarding actual packets) and a control plane (where network administrators write commands to tell the data plan what to do). This is complex, time-consuming, and prone to error. By leveraging affordable Internet connections, SD-WAN reduces networking costs without sacrificing performance or security.
Additionally, SD-WAN centralizes network management by decoupling networking and security products at the edge and delivering advanced functionality through Network Function Virtualization (NFV) offerings. This provides centralized orchestration, zero-touch provisioning, and deep integrations with cloud on-ramps to accelerate connectivity. A business-driven SD-WAN proactively responds to real-time network conditions with programmable network devices and dynamic best-path routing, dramatically improving cost, agility, and application performance. This includes detecting performance degradation, like high latency and packet loss, and taking action, such as performing a seamless failover to a better-performing network link. This enables a business to keep its critical applications up and running during transport outages so employees can continue to work confidently. In addition, it ensures that unused resources are billed as they should be. This significantly cuts operating expenses and capital expenditures.
A Seamless Path to the Cloud
As you migrate to the cloud and adopt new applications, you must ensure your business performs best. With SD-WAN, you can prioritize critical data, eliminate traffic bottlenecks, and provide a seamless on-ramp to the cloud. This leads to improved application productivity, a more seamless and consistent security model, and increased business agility. Unlike traditional WANs that backhaul all traffic to the headquarters, SD-WAN enables branch offices to connect to the Internet directly for faster data traffic flow. This results in significantly reduced costs, greater bandwidth efficiency, and superior application performance that translates to better customer satisfaction. Your chosen SD-WAN provider should offer a control portal with overlay, underlay, and application traffic visibility. This allows you to monitor connectivity and application performance for all endpoints across your network and optimize WAN routing policies accordingly. The portal should also be able to support your organization’s VPN and cloud-security functions, such as a secure web gateway, CASB, or zero-trust network access. Whether you are considering replacing MPLS with SD-WAN or simply enhancing your current WAN architecture, the right choice will help your organization lower OpEx and CapEx, deliver more bandwidth efficiently, reduce security risks, and simplify your networking infrastructure. However, the key to success will be your ability to assess and understand your current network conditions accurately. That is why it is essential to conduct a comprehensive IT Health Assessment.
With SD-WAN, you can use a centrally managed network fabric to manage security policies and configurations across multiple locations. This means that changes made in one location automatically update in all other locations, delivering true simplicity at the enterprise scale. It also reduces reliance on expensive MPLS connections between locations, resulting in significant cost savings. With the ability to identify and prioritize traffic based on company-set policies, SD-WAN can increase application performance and quality of experience for workers. It can also optimize bandwidth utilization through WAN link selection, prioritization, and compression. It enables low-cost transport methods like broadband Internet and 4G/5G LTE to deliver cost-effective connectivity. A key benefit for organizations that rely on IaaS and SaaS cloud solutions is the ability to connect remote sites to cloud services directly without backing them up to a data center. This eliminates latency and congestion issues that negatively impact cloud performance. Choosing the right SD-WAN solution is vital for companies that depend on a robust and reliable network to run their business. The best way to evaluate options is to check user reviews and testimonials and attend vendor user groups to get a candid look at product roadmaps and enhancements based on input from real users. Finally, it’s a good idea to find out whether your prospective vendor or their channels provide customer support and the process for escalating service requests.