Businesses are rapidly adopting SD-WAN technology because of its comprehensive financial and operational benefits.
- Lowers WAN OpEx, CapEx, and overall total cost of ownership.
- Provides greater business agility and responsiveness to keep pace with IT innovations.
- Supports multiple, secure, high-performance connections, eliminating backhaul penalties imposed by MPLS networks.
- Improves performance by enabling load sharing across connections and adjusting traffic flows based on network conditions.
- Supports the automated provisioning of, and changes to, premium network services such as VPNs, firewalls, security, WAN optimization, and application delivery control.
- Supports zero touch provisioning (ZTP).
- Improves network security by encrypting WAN traffic and segmenting the network to minimize damage if breaches occur.
Problems Addressed by SD-WAN
Managing the WAN traditionally has been one of the most expensive and rigid aspects of running an enterprise network. SD-WAN eases this burden by proactively responding to real-time network conditions. It uses programmable network devices that you can modify remotely and through dynamic best-path routing, both of which improve cost, agility, and performance.
SD-WAN Uses and Functions
SD-WAN software running on CPE (customer premises equipment) monitors the conditions of all public and private-line services and determines how to route each type of application traffic. For instance, the default might be to send voice-over-IP (VoIP) traffic over an MPLS VPN service. However, if the MPLS connection becomes congested, the SD-WAN might switch that traffic over to a broadband Internet or 4G LTE wireless circuit. In this way, the SD-WAN enables automatic load balancing and network congestion management for best performance and least-cost effective routing.
SD-WAN’s Relationship to NFV
It’s possible to layer virtual network infrastructure services, such as VPN, firewalling, QoS, and WAN optimization, alongside the SD-WAN on the same universal CPE (uCPE) platform. One way is to add virtualized network functions (VNFs) to the SD-WAN using Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). Incorporating cloud and virtualization technologies, NFV speeds the development of new network services, providing elastic scale and automation. SD-WAN and VNFs are both virtual services that can run adjacent to each other or independently.