SD-WAN Offers Path to Application-Aware Networking

May 25, 2017

By Laura Stotler - Hybrid WAN Contributing Editor

A key component of the digital transformation happening throughout the technology sector is the adoption of software and services to handle processes previously connected to expensive and cumbersome proprietary pieces of hardware. The software-defined technology world is transforming business models and networking technologies and essentially disrupting pretty much all aspects of technology business.

At the core of the digital transformation is the network, enabling a massive number of devices, applications and services to communicate and work in harmony. Every part of the network is critical to ensuring traffic runs smoothly and efficiently, and that’s where the wide area network (WAN) comes into play. Architected decades ago to meet the needs of client/server computing, the WAN cannot keep up with the demands of the cloud, mobility and the IoT using a traditional architecture. This has given way to the software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), an efficient way to apply intelligence, automation and management to existing WAN infrastructure at a low cost.

According to a report from ZK Research, the SD-WAN addresses the lack of network agility found in most traditionally architected WANs, delivering management and intelligent functionality to the remote office without the need for complex hardware to reside there. SD-WANs take advantage of a central SDN controller for policy orchestration, configuration and deployment, offering agility and economies of scale simply not possible with traditional architectures.

One of the main advantages of the SD-WAN is that it enables hybrid networking, meaning the WAN may be comprised of a combination of transport technologies like MPLS, wireless or broadband. By leveraging a variety of connectivity solutions, organizations can keep costs low and enjoy redundancy for disaster recovery and backup purposes. Hybrid networking also ensures all connections are active, enabling businesses to have greater control over how different types of traffic flow over the network. This hybrid approach also facilitates more intelligent path selection, flow symmetry and traffic isolation with granularity down to the session level within specific applications.

ZK Research estimates that enterprises will slash their network total cost of ownership by as much as 40 percent when migrating to a SD-WAN architecture, based on operational savings as well as lower-cost broadband connectivity. SD-WAN also creates a migration path to the application-aware network, which will be a powerful tool for offering a better customer and user experience and creating productivity and efficiency increases.

The SD-WAN is an essential part of the digital transformation underway, enabling enterprises to enjoy the benefits of hybrid networking and application-aware networks using their existing connectivity and infrastructure. By layering intelligence, management and automation onto existing networks, enterprises can easily and affordably begin their digital migration and enjoy all the benefits it enables.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Article comments powered by Disqus