Software-defined Wide Area Network
- Infrastructure & Application
Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is the application of softwarebased network technologies that virtualize WAN connections to provide agility, performance and reliability for network traffic between remote and branch offices to data centers and the cloud. SD-WAN leverages cloud-hosting to simplify deployment and management of network devices and employs traffic steering to applications in the data center and the cloud. It combines the bandwidth of broadband with existing WAN connections to more efficiently and cost-effectively connect users to data center and cloud-based applications from any location in the network. SD-WAN optimizes traffic over multiple available connections (MPLS, broadband, LTE) to deliver traffic across the network, delivering a better user experience to any location. SD-WAN will dynamically steer traffic to the best available link, and if the available links show any transmission issues, it will immediately apply remediation for jitter and packet loss based on policies to ensure performance of the high-priority applications.
Because SD-WAN is cloud-delivered and software-based, it allows for quick adaptation to changing needs, including adding access to cloud-based services, standing up new branches or remote offices, and dynamic steering of all traffic for optimized application and data delivery.
SD-WAN allows for various deployment options for the edge device, including: dedicated hardware, a virtualized appliance, or a hybrid solution (cloud/software and hardware). In each instance, the components connect to a central orchestrator when brought online, and configurations are pushed from the central orchestrator to the edge device. There is no need for a specialized technician to facilitate installation, which saves time and money.
A centrally located orchestrator monitors all network activity, alerts when there are problems, and enables the remote remediation of issues. The orchestrator enables the automatic push of updated configurations and application specific policies to each network node, quickly and efficiently. In addition, it delivers real-time analytics and reporting that can be used for performance monitoring and troubleshooting.
The SD-WAN controller can be used to create virtual network segments to isolate data, including PCI data, to ensure data integrity and for PCI audit compliance. Segmentation also allows for overlapping IP addresses, which makes it easy to incorporate multiple networks into the system.
Gartner reports that an SD-WAN deployment is 2.5 times less expensive than traditional WAN architectures. The root of this reduction is attributed to: