SD-WAN technology evolved from a new concept in the early 2000s to a sophisticated technology by 2014. It has benefited from the cloudification of applications and workers moving to the ‘Extended Edge,’ and this evolution is accelerating today. There are seven essential terms that you should learn more about SD-WAN to get the most out of this technology. SD-WAN is a wide-area network (WAN) that lets your traffic go from a remote location to the cloud service. This way, traffic doesn’t need to travel to the data center. It can bypass slow or broken circuits and still get where it needs to go. SD-WAN also lets you decide where your traffic should go.
Business-Driven SD-WAN Improves Network Performance
Business-driven SD-WAN is a network improvement solution that enables companies to optimize their bandwidth utilization and reduce network costs. This solution identifies applications associated with WAN traffic and applies business-aligned policies to assign priority to specific applications. For example, video traffic and software updates can be sent over the highest-capacity circuits, while all other business traffic is routed over secure VPNs. With business-driven SD-WAN, setting up Internet break-outs at remote locations and eliminating backhaul traffic to minimize latency and improve user productivity is easy.
Business-driven SD-WAN improves network-wide performance by automating and centralizing network-level settings, policy-based network management, and unified control. This approach reduces complexity and increases visibility for IT and business users. It also enables IT to better align network-wide policies with business objectives.
Reduces Overall Attack Surface
An SD-WAN system reduces the overall attack surface of a network by using granular IAM to bind micro-segmentation. This makes it possible to implement various policies and avoid security breaches. Granular IAM allows administrators to apply policies to 10s, 100s, and even thousands of nodes. Businesses can achieve significant operational efficiency gains while reducing their overall attack surface.
While SD-WAN can reduce the attack surface of a company’s network, it is still vulnerable to attacks. Typical WAN architectures restrict data centers, branch offices, or enterprise access. These WANs can also be targeted by cyber-criminals and other threats from the outside. Until recently, most WAN architectures focused on a single layer of the organization, which limited access to distributed applications and services.
WAN Optimization and SD-WAN are complementary technologies that both improve WAN performance. They work hand-in-hand to enhance the performance and availability of public cloud applications. With WAN optimization, you can quickly increase bandwidth by optimizing traffic. This will help you increase the speed and responsiveness of latency-sensitive applications. With SD-WAN, you can also improve your WAN performance and ensure that traffic between your main office and all your branches is optimized.
Traditional WANs are difficult to deploy and configure. You must spend time provisioning hardware at each site and restart the network if something goes wrong. On the other hand, SD-WAN takes the guesswork out of WAN optimization and automates the configuration process by abstracting software from hardware. Moreover, it offers real-time packet and traffic monitoring.
Software-defined WAN is a network technology that aims to simplify network management. The technology can connect to multiple internet data services and hybrid deployments and should offer advanced security features, such as VPN and cyber threat protection. A key feature to look for is mobility and interactive interaction. SD-WAN can provide these features and is gaining popularity among businesses.
While traditional WAN solutions often require large amounts of hardware, SD-WAN is a more efficient alternative because it focuses on virtualized overlays instead of physical switches and routers. This architecture reduces complexity, eliminates manual management, and allows IT to control the entire WAN through a single interface. With this approach, network upgrades take minutes rather than days, and there is no need to worry about lengthy installations.
With SD-WAN, network administrators can have a centralized view of the entire network and capture packets for deeper analysis. This helps them better manage and maintain the performance and security of their networks. Moreover, this new approach enables organizations to track issues directly and effectively, a huge time-saver. Additionally, SD-WAN enables them to apply security policies to all their users, including remote workers. In addition, Cloud-based SD-WAN offers centralized management, visibility, and control from a single portal.
The Meraki SD-WAN system is offered by Cisco Meraki, a company division that offers cloud services to businesses. The Meraki SD-WAN system is easy to use, with a simple user interface. The service includes Meraki MX appliances that are linked to a cloud SD-WAN manager. These appliances come with VPN client software preloaded and are designed to ensure that transmissions are secure. The Meraki SD-WAN service then selectively switches traffic between sites and the internet.
The SD-WAN architecture is designed to reduce the need for MPLS-based connections. Traditionally, companies use MPLS circuits to backhaul traffic between their corporate headquarters and subsidiary offices. However, these networks are costly and often take weeks or months to provision. Moreover, they cannot support the speed and capacity demands of cloud-based connections. As a result, companies are now choosing Cloud-based SD-WAN to minimize CAPEX outlays and maximize bandwidth efficiency.
MPLS is the backbone of traditional WANs, but it’s expensive, complex, and challenging to manage. Moreover, the growth of cloud-based applications is pushing bandwidth demands higher. As a result, businesses are increasingly moving applications to the cloud. To accommodate these needs, businesses are leveraging broadband internet, which offers a high-speed connection and is cost-effective.
One major advantage of MPLS over SD-WAN is that it allows you to control the routing of data packets in a more detailed manner. Internet data packets take different routes through different routers, but MPLS packets follow a pre-defined route. Furthermore, because MPLS routes are manually updated, the packets never deviate from the specified path and are always forwarded between the same routers. In contrast, SD-WAN traffic often takes different routes, and some packets are lost in transit.
However, a significant variation in bandwidth can negatively impact application performance and productivity. SD-WAN can be a good solution for regional and small businesses if the bandwidth used is relatively consistent across different locations. By contrast, an all-internet WAN will result in high bandwidth fluctuations, affecting productivity and app performance. With careful planning, companies can minimize the total costs of running their network and get the most out of their investments.
An additional benefit of SD-WAN is that it provides better application performance and user experience. However, SD-WAN also has some shortcomings, primarily in terms of network reliability and performance. Furthermore, it requires complex hub infrastructure and multiple vendors. It can also add to the complexity of network management and can increase overall costs.