The case for Software-Defined Wide-Area Networking SD-WAN

The case for Software-Defined Wide-Area Networking (SD-WAN)

Enterprise networks do not have it easy. They are facing an unprecedented level of demand; driven by the combined pressures of digital disruption, operational complexity and cyber security.

The continued growth of mobility, the IoT and big data applications is adding to what is already a lack of insight into IT operations. Legacy, frequently siloed systems see many IT departments spending 3x as much on network operations as they do the network itself.

Add to this the ever-changing cyber security landscape and its easy to see why the industry is ready for a change. Business demand for SD-WAN infrastructure and services will see a compound annual growth of over 69% over the next 3-5 years (IDC). By the end of 2021, Cisco predicts that 25% of all WAN traffic will be software-defined.

What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN is the application of software-defined networking technologies to wide area, enterprise networks. It is used to secure WAN connections between branch offices, remote workers and data centre facilities that are geographically dispersed.

Effectively a network overlay, SD-WAN is carrier agnostic and transport Layer independent. It promises reduced operational costs, greater control over network applications and simplified management.

Who needs it?

It might be easier to say who doesn’t need it. Any organisation that relies on public or private networks to operate their business should be considering SD-WAN. More specifically, if you are contemplating any of these initiatives, SD-WAN should be front of mind:

  • Use of video or bandwidth intensive applications
  • Deploying hybrid WAN topologies at remote locations
  • Planning to review/optimise existing branch routers
  • Migrating away from MPLS
  • Increasing bandwidth/network resilience

Managed SD-WAN

Whilst SD-WAN promises greater simplicity and visibility, management of the network and its component elements is required to ensure your WAN infrastructure continues to be a business enabler, rather than an inhibitor.

Many businesses will seek to employ SD-WAN as a managed service from a trusted technology partner to ensure they make the most of the benefits available. Improvements in business agility, reduced capital expenditure, ease of management, reduced maintenance costs, even greater resilience can be realised.

ONI has established best-practice processes and resources for managing the implementation of software-defined networks. Our network monitoring and management solutions are backed by leading SLAs and our customers benefit from the transparency of a single provider for CPE and the underlying connectivity.

If you’d like to understand more about SD-WAN, download our Best Practice Guide to Software Defined Networking. In it we answer key questions, review the challenges the technology addresses, explain why you should consider SD-WAN as a Managed Service and discuss what to look for in a Managed Service Provider (MSP).