How SD-WAN Can Streamline Multi-Location Connectivity
If your business has multiple locations, relies on cloud solutions, and has expansion plans, it may be a good candidate for SD-WAN. This solution improves network performance by optimizing data transmissions based on application type.
It also takes WAN optimization a step further. In addition, it reduces networking costs by centralizing management functions on a single device.
What is SD-WAN and how it works? SD-WAN can significantly reduce costs compared to legacy private WAN networks. One of the most significant direct savings comes from eliminating the need for expensive MPLS circuits at every site. Instead, SD-WAN uses secure Internet connectivity to send and receive data between sites, making the solution much more cost-effective.
Another direct cost saving is eliminating backhauling traffic to the central security firewall for inspection and policy enforcement. This process was necessary with legacy architectures, but it consumed valuable MPLS capacity and introduced latency that hurt application performance. With SD-WAN, you can route critical applications over the most reliable and high-performance connections. This improves productivity and boosts staff morale.
With built-in resilience, you can be confident that business-critical apps are always available despite a compromised network. SD-WAN constantly monitors each link’s quality and routes traffic away from any problem zones. It is also possible to save overhead by removing routing equipment at end-of-life or when a WAN refresh occurs. SD-WAN devices offer zero-touch provisioning and can be configured remotely, lowering deployment and management costs.
Soft or inferred savings are also achievable by reducing site calls to the IT service desk. SD-WAN’s centralized policy management and rollout reduced human error and better system availability, leading to lower support costs.
Many enterprises need to scale their SD-WAN solution rapidly as they grow, especially in the case of branch offices. To do this, they require a robust platform that combines networking and security functionality in a single management console. This unified view allows policies to be set at the centralized level and automatically applied to 10s, 100s, or even 1000s of locations.
For example, a WAN architecture that integrates security with networking can prioritize data for most sensitive applications to latency and jitter. This enables businesses to ensure that their employees can continue working no matter what happens with their Internet or cellular connection.
Another way to improve scalability is through the use of link-bonding. This technology combines multiple local internet connections to improve last-mile bandwidth and resilience. It also reduces the need to install new expensive MPLS links at branches by leveraging existing broadband connectivity for business-critical traffic.
When implementing SD-WAN, teams must understand that this is not a “drop-in” implementation and requires expertise. It’s recommended that they work with an experienced vendor that can guide them through the process, including a proof of concept or experimentation. A robust RFP process should also be performed to identify the right features for each organization’s needs. This will help avoid the costly mistake of deploying a solution that doesn’t meet the business requirements.
Businesses need reliable connectivity across all locations so employees can access the company’s databases and cloud services. A secure SD-WAN provides a robust and efficient network infrastructure for consistent data delivery. It can also protect the business’s sensitive information from attackers who can intercept it when it travels over the Internet.
An SD-WAN can provide a more effective and cost-efficient way to connect multi-location businesses to the cloud than traditional methods such as MPLS, which are prone to costly outages. It can deliver high-quality applications with a consistent quality of experience (QoE) and reduce reliance on costly private connections between headquarters and sites.
A basic SD-WAN can direct traffic on an application basis, but a more advanced solution decouples the control and data planes to eliminate dependencies on centralized hardware. This allows a single appliance at each site to do the heavy lifting of configuration, management, and policy implementation while specialized SD-WAN edge routers handle the traffic. Many solutions also allow templatization to simplify deployment and administration.
When evaluating SD-WAN, look for integrated capabilities that support efficient management and operations, excellent quality of experience, and comprehensive security. Additionally, consider looking for a solution provider with extensive expertise in designing, planning, and deploying complex multi-site technology solutions. These providers can help your team recognize how an SD-WAN solution aligns with organizational business goals to meet specific IT needs.
The centralized control that SD-WAN offers allows network managers to quickly change routing policies at any site and apply them in near real-time, rather than the manual programming required by traditional devices. This flexibility is beneficial in the case of remote locations where it can be hard to get to each device to make changes.
SD-WAN is also easy to deploy because it doesn’t rely on hardware and can be quickly integrated into new locations. It is also more cost-effective than other WAN solutions, such as MPLS. In addition, it provides better bandwidth efficiency and improves application performance, especially for critical applications.
A business that operates in multiple geographic areas may need to connect headquarters with satellite offices and remote locations. SD-WAN can provide a secure and reliable way to connect these sites, reducing the risk of data loss and ensuring that employees can access the needed data.
Unlike traditional WANs, which require backhauling all traffic to the central office, SD-WAN offers better bandwidth efficiency and reduced costs by routing traffic directly to the cloud. It also provides increased reliability by combining Internet connections using link bonding. This can reduce the impact of outages by directing traffic to alternate routes. In addition, an SD-WAN can offer advanced security features such as intrusion detection and prevention system functionality, unified threat management, and secure web gateway functions.