With the rapidly transforming digital landscape in business, visionary organizations are quickly switching to better technologies that offer higher efficiencies at lower costs. When it comes to network architecture, most enterprises function on the conventional options that are unable to handle the workloads and complexities of a cloud-first organization. This is precisely where SD-WAN technology is proving to be the perfect choice for future-ready enterprises.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN or Software-defined Wide Area Network is a WAN architecture that applies software-defined networking technology to WAN connections used by enterprises, especially to support branches spread across wide geographic locations. It uses a centralized control function to securely direct traffic across the network, thus facilitating an efficient and more consistent data transport. SD-WAN technology also orchestrates the software to utilize combinations of services like LTE, broadband, and MPLS to establish a consistent and cost-effective network.
Figure 1: SD-WAN framework
According to 2021 Futuriom SD-WAN Growth Report, the global SD-WAN market is estimated to grow robustly at a CAGR of 34% to reach $3.5 billion by 2022 and $4.6 billion by 20231. This is primarily because of the plethora of advantages of moving a business to SD-WAN. Let’s look at the 7 top reasons why today’s cloud-first enterprises are switching to SD-WAN:
1. Reduced Costs
As organizations expand to multiple branches and locations, the functional connectivity becomes complex, and thus, expensive. As compared to MPLS, SD-WAN utilizes low-cost internet connections, providing direct access to the cloud. Efficiently leveraging all network resources to send traffic commands across the most competent bandwidth, SD-WAN proves to be a much more cost-effective option. It also reduces the labor costs associated with the implementation and maintenance of technologies like MPLS and WAN.
2. Superior Performance
Switching to SD-WAN will ensure exceptional network performance. Routing data traffic through the quickest and most stable connection, SD-WAN reduces problems of network latency and fluctuations. Owing to its flexibility in data transport, SD-WAN identifies the most reliable and efficient connections, to prioritize business-critical traffic through them. This ensures reduced packet loss, enhanced employee productivity, and thus an efficient network.
3. Better Security
With the increasing risk of cybercrime in today’s age, the need of the hour for any business is robust network security. Traditional WAN solutions usually address security concerns with a branch-by-branch approach. This is done by backhauling traffic back to the main data center, resulting in an unnecessary delay that affects the application performance. On the other hand, SD-WAN activates and configures security protocols from the central management console making it an intelligent yet cost-effective way to protect data. Setting the base with in-built encryption, SD-WAN is equipped with next-generation firewalls, malware defenses, cloud web content filtering, and intervention protocols to safeguard enterprise networks from sophisticated cyberattacks.
To fortify the network further, SD-WAN can also be complemented with a secure networking technology called SASE (secure access service edge). SASE takes it one step further by connecting users to the closest point of presence (PoP), irrespective of their location. The security and networking programs are implemented at these PoPs. Being a single, scalable service, the complexity and cost of security are reduced considerably with SASE. Due to this increasing demand for a secure network SASE market is witnessing a steep rise. According to a recent report by Dell’Oro Group, the SASE market is growing at a 116% CAGR2.
Figure 2: SD-WAN coupled with SASE for better network security
4. Enhanced Network and Application Experience
SD-WAN is capable of managing high loads of data without compromising the signal or quality, providing an effective solution to the prevalent issue of organization downtime. It also uses principles of application-aware routing to optimize the connection between remote sites and public, private, or hybrid cloud.
As businesses expand their cloud and SaaS portfolio, the dependency for remote workers on the internet is of utmost priority. SD-WAN allows organizations to define business intent and outcome associated with each application, and thus prioritize business-critical applications.
5. Scalable Bandwidth
The bandwidth of a network is critical to any business involving technology, handling huge volumes of data. The load of the network and the level of performance are completely determined by the bandwidth. SD-WAN allows businesses to combine multiple WAN connections, resulting in a collective size of the bandwidth. For growing businesses with cloud-based networks, applications need to be backed by scalable bandwidth to seamlessly deliver as per the requirement. This is where SD-WAN shows the potential of revolutionizing application performance and, in turn, user experience. It enables the bandwidth to be scaled up or down at a moment’s notice, and can also redistribute it to incorporate additional connections and new applications.
6. Simpler Management
Another major advantage of SD-WAN is the centralized management console, making it extremely simple for IT teams to monitor, configure, deploy, and manage the enterprise network from across any remote site. The console can also be configured so as to have a unique traffic control protocol for each location, IP address, application profile, etc. SD-WAN technology isolates the software layer from the fundamental hardware stratum in order to achieve this. This enables the IT team to avoid spending time, money, and resources at site locations.
7. Integration of Segment Networks
SD-WAN streamlines the onboarding and merging of new segment networks efficiently. As opposed to traditional WAN that uses dynamic multipoint private networks, SD-WAN can effortlessly create and split virtual network segments and also dictate the interaction policies for each segment. Thus, the parent organization can isolate data traffic from the new segment while retaining regulatory compliance.
The debate over work from home and work from office is almost over. The world has now embraced a hybrid work model. In the coming years, even the smallest business will have its cloud applications. It’d also not be wrong to assume that internet costs, like all other costs, will continue to rise and inflate. The pervasive proliferation of IoT devices will expand beyond its known realms. And in that connected world, cyber offenders will be on a constant lookout for vulnerabilities in enterprise networks to launch far more menacing attacks.
To survive in such an evolved environment of tomorrow, enterprises must take steps to ensure agility and resilience. For its increased security, enhanced performance, greater agility, and reduced costs, SD-WAN has already piqued the interests of enterprise leaders. The upward graph of SD-WAN adoption is a concrete testament to that market sentiment.
All that’s left to ask is – when are you planning to make the switch? Visit Cloud4C’s SD-WAN page at www.cloud4c.com/managed-sd-wan for more information.
- 1 Futuriom | 2021 SD-WAN Growth Report
- 2 SDX Central