Maintaining business uptime is essential to productivity and customer satisfaction. An outage can cost companies in lost revenue and remediation costs.
SD-WAN offers high availability by implementing redundancies at multiple layers to reduce single points of failure. It also provides direct cloud access at branch offices to improve performance. This enables the IT team to prioritize critical applications while leveraging a mix of transport methods to minimize costs.
SD-WAN uses a centralized controller that enables IT teams to manage thousands of routers simultaneously instead of manually programming each one individually. This simplifies network management and allows IT to make changes quickly as needs change.
Another way SD-WAN makes things easier is by reducing costs. By leveraging the internet underlay for most traffic and using it to connect branch offices, IT managers can save about 25% in cost versus MPLS circuits.
This is because traditional WANs backhaul all traffic to headquarters, which can introduce latency and impair application performance. Meanwhile, the SD-WAN approach enables direct connections to the cloud and business applications over the Internet.
This helps organizations save on expensive MPLS circuits and improve WAN efficiency. And it gives IT more control by enabling them to prioritize application traffic and use a mix of lower-cost network connections (e.g., broadband) for less-critical data and higher-priority applications. It also improves WAN resilience through redundancy by ensuring multiple connectivity services can fail over to support applications in case of a single link failure.
One of the benefits of SD-WAN is that it allows you to identify applications most sensitive to latency and packet loss so they get prioritized first. This means your users can work remotely without worrying about lagging VoIP calls or being interrupted by web-based tools.
Unlike MPLS, which requires costly new circuits to connect every branch location, SD-WAN can route traffic over public Internet connections. This reduces overall network costs while guaranteeing quality, optimizing data, and directing traffic via the most efficient routes.
A centralized management controller allows you to add or remove sites to your organization’s network easily. This is a great way to save time and resources when changing network policies.
Additionally, you can use virtual network functions (VNF) for additional services like firewalling or load balancing. This helps you to reduce costs further by using existing equipment. This approach is beneficial for small businesses. This feature can help you minimize the need for IT specialists at each location, lowering your total ownership cost.
As the WAN becomes more centralized and the amount of transmitted data increases, reliability becomes an important consideration. A traditional WAN architecture uses a single connection per location to send data back and forth between a branch office and the data center, which can be problematic.
SD-WAN eliminates this problem by using multiple connections and ensuring application performance isn’t impaired when one of the links fails. Additionally, SD-WAN can prioritize business-critical traffic and real-time services such as VoIP by dynamically routing them over the best possible network paths.
Look for an SD-WAN solution with a centralized controller that manages branch routers from a single pane of glass, providing IT visibility and control. Additionally, choose a solution that offers transport independence to give flexibility to route data over the most appropriate method. This will help alleviate the trombone effect and improve last-mile performance for mobile users and cloud/SaaS applications. It should also support link aggregation to enable more efficient and reliable use of existing circuits. It should be able to collect and analyze real-time data to optimize how bandwidth is used over the overlay network.
SD-WAN provides a secure overlay network with centralized control to simplify the management of branch office routers. It allows organizations to manage security policies from a central management portal, deploy new sites, provision software and firmware upgrades, and flex bandwidth from this point.
It also helps reduce WAN maintenance costs by offloading less critical applications to public Internet connections and reserving private network capacity for business-critical and low-latency applications. It can also use dual connectivity – with multiple Internet service providers in place – to increase resilience by ensuring application traffic always has a high-quality connection.
The SD-WAN infrastructure can monitor and detect network issues, such as link degradation and packet loss, and take proactive measures to improve performance and reliability. For example, packet error concealment algorithms can make voice and video codecs more resilient to packet loss. This makes it nearly impossible for hackers to retransmit stolen data. In addition, many SD-WAN solutions offer built-in network visibility and filtering capabilities that protect against cyber threats. This enables security teams to focus on other important projects instead of spending time and resources on manual inspections and updates across the enterprise.
In addition to boosting application performance and security, an SD-WAN provides automation and ease of management. A centralized control function, either on-premises or in the cloud, makes deploying new sites easy, changing applications and services and flexing bandwidth as required.
A vital feature of an SD-WAN is that it allows for local offloading of internet access from the WAN to help reduce costs and improve network security and performance. This can significantly help smaller offices without the budget for dedicated internet connections, especially when it means not having to backhaul traffic across the WAN.
Another automation measure is the ability of an SD-WAN to automatically identify the best path to a given application based on business intent and routing rules. This avoids the trombone effect and ensures a quality experience for remote employees. This is a massive benefit regarding productivity, morale, and overall employee satisfaction. A recent Pet Lovers Center study found that workers with high-quality remote connections were more than twice as likely to be happy with their jobs.