The Many Benefits of SD-WAN

SD-WAN offers many benefits, including improved performance, lower costs, and increased visibility. Discover how you can take advantage of it to strengthen your network.

Between recent technological advances and the rise in applications migrating to the cloud (not to mention the post-pandemic increase in remote work), we’re more digital than ever as a society. That means we increasingly need robust network architectures and that failures to those architectures can be disastrous. While wide-area networks (WAN) have been a popular option for decades, they’re no longer cutting it. After all, WANs weren’t built with the cloud in mind and they can’t provide the reliability, performance, or security that modern businesses need.

SD-WAN can strengthen your network architecture, reduce latency, prevent failures, connect remote sites to the internet, increase bandwidth efficiency, and more — all while maintaining tight security and quality performance. So, it’s hardly surprising that the global SD-WAN market is expected to reach $8.4 billion by 2025. Even with SD-WAN taking up an ever-larger market share, many still don’t know what exactly it is or its many benefits. Read on to get answers to all your SD-WAN questions.

 

What Is SD-WAN?

Before diving into how SD-WAN can benefit your organization, let’s first go over the basics of what SD-WAN is. SD-WAN stands for software-defined wide-area network. Essentially, it’s a virtual alternative to WAN architecture.

Like WAN, SD-WAN enables connections across large distances, but SD-WAN virtualizes and bonds network links, allowing organizations to use internet or 5G connections and create secure tunnels that connect branch offices to data centers and the cloud. SD-WAN is perfect for apps, regardless of whether they’re hosted in on-premise data centers, private or public clouds, or SaaS services.

 

What Are The Benefits Of SD-WAN?

SD-WAN offers plenty of benefits, such as:

1.Improved Agility, Flexibility, And Performance

Since SD-WAN uses policy-based routing and allows organizations to use the best transport method for each job, it offers more agility and flexibility than WAN or multi-protocol label switching (MPLS). Using an SD-WAN means you can use the best transport method every time, whether that’s structured cabling, 5G, xDSL, or something else.

As a result of SD-WAN’s ability to base traffic routing around applications’ needs, you’ll experience more intelligent, efficient networking, increased network availability, higher quality transfer, and fewer single points of failure. Plus, thanks to SD-WAN’s policy-based routing, it can even improve last-mile availability, resiliency, and overall performance.

What’s more, you won’t have to wait weeks or months to expand your network as you might when adding MPLS circuits to WANs. SD-WAN can reduce provisioning times by 50-80%, meaning adding new SD-WAN links and scaling up will be much faster. That’s great news for businesses looking to expand at some point in the future that don’t want to be held up by potential bandwidth or network issues.

2. Lower Costs

Providing connectivity to various locations via WAN and MPLS lines has become increasingly expensive. However, you won’t need to buy additional MPLS circuits every time bandwidth demand increases with SD-WAN. Instead, you can buy cheaper broadband circuits or use 5G connections. Some SD-WAN users have cut costs by 75% by switching from MPLS to SD-WAN — all while gaining bandwidth and without sacrificing efficiency, security, or performance.

3. Improved Security

While the complexity and rigidity of WANs make enforcing security policies difficult, SD-WANs give businesses all the agility and flexibility they need to protect their networks and respond to cybersecurity threats fast — before they can wreak their desired havoc. In addition to traffic encryption, SD-WAN enables micro-segmentation, which can make a significant difference in security by keeping bad actors from accessing your complete network even if they manage to get through some elements of it.

For example, Aruba EdgeConnect, an SD-WAN platform, enables IT teams to segment the network traffic thanks to its zone-based firewalls. As a result, users can only access relevant parts of the network. At the same time, this segmentation also means that any malware and traffic coming from less secure locations will be contained to a single network section rather than compromising the network as a whole.

4. A Simplified WAN Infrastructure

WAN infrastructures have become increasingly complex over the years. Organizations have piles of firewalls, routers, WAN optimization devices, and other appliances in their IT facilities. Not only is this large device footprint challenging to manage, but it’s also difficult to update. For example, if you wanted to move an application to the cloud or improve service quality, you’d need to reconfigure several devices manually. Seems tedious, right?

With SD-WAN, organizations won’t need nearly as much equipment in their branch locations because functions will be unified within one platform. For example, Aruba EdgeConnect unifies routing, WAN optimization, firewall, and SD-WAN in a single platform, resulting in a smaller device footprint, a streamlined network architecture, the elimination of MPLS circuits, and simplified management.

5. Improved Performance When It Comes To The Cloud

While WANs and MPLS are reliable for organizations that need to route traffic between static locations, they aren’t the best option for the cloud or mobile devices because they backhaul traffic from branch locations to a central data center.

With SD-WAN, organizations can use local internet breakout to direct traffic to the cloud. This results in improved cloud application performance and allows organizations to take full advantage of their cloud architecture. For example, Aruba EdgeConnect can identify the application on the first packet and then use policy-based routing to send it either to the data center, a cloud security enforcement point before its final destination, or directly to the cloud based on what’s most appropriate.

6. Centralized Network Management And Increased Visibility

WAN management can become incredibly complex, especially in organizations that have scaled their network up over the years. These organizations need to manage network operations on a local basis and can’t easily monitor their entire network continuously. As a result, IT teams won’t understand their network and its health as clearly, which impacts everything from mean time to recovery to the creation of additional maintenance burdens.

The good news is that an SD-WAN offers continuous network health monitoring and an integrated, centralized network view. Not only does having a single pane of glass make monitoring and managing networks much easier, but it also will allow you to eliminate MPLS circuits and save money.

Aruba EdgeConnect goes further than many other SD-WAN options with its zero-touch provisioning, health maps, and real-time views of everything from top talkers to Mean Option Scores. With Aruba EdgeConnect’s detailed dashboards and alerts, identifying and resolving performance problems will be faster and easier than ever.

 

Reap All The Benefits Of SD-WAN With TTI’s Help

SD-WAN is a powerful solution that is changing the way we connect users and applications. However, adopting SD-WAN may seem overwhelming if you’ve never used it before. That’s where Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) comes in.

With nearly 30 years of experience and a team of networking experts on hand, TTI is the perfect partner to upgrade your network with SD-WAN. We can easily implement SD-WANs, like HPE Aruba, so you can take advantage of its comprehensive features and start experiencing the benefits of SD-WAN for yourself. Plus, we’ll help you get the most out of your upgrade, whether that means helping manage your cables or troubleshooting problems.

Contact us today to find out how we can provide a networking solution that will benefit your business.

By Craig Badrick

November 2, 2022

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