Monday, 3rd August 2020

How SD-WAN is Transforming Networks for Enterprises

Large enterprise level businesses, or smaller businesses that are beginning to expand, face major problems of coordinating and transferring data over vastly spaced geographical locations. In order to connect these data centers, or branches of the enterprise together, so they can share the same software/application, the network is extended using the services of a Wide Area Network or a WAN. WANs are, however, quickly becoming outdated and most companies are looking for something more efficient and cost effective. By Marcus Doran – VP and GM at Rahi Systems, Europe.

With the advent of the internet and the cloud, the prerequisites and expectations from a system are changing. People expect faster and more efficient processing along with better results. Typical WAN technology is not equipped to keep up with this drastic change, nor is it flexible enough to stay on course with the developing requirements of the modern technological world. WANs generally have high latency and low bandwidth, making them unsuitable for: the sake of video calling, the transfer of high-end virtual applications, as well as the streaming of other related media. Additionally, in an effort to transfer data over traditional WAN networks, companies increasingly face serious problems such as service failures, overloads, and a significant decrease in quality.

Thus, in order to counter such problems, there is the need to develop a better equipped network to face the challenges of data transfer in the modern era.


SD-WAN stands for Software Defined Wide Area Networking and is used to connect data centers and enterprise branches over large geographical distances and allow them to share data and applications with ease. What it essentially does is separates the actual network from the control center. A traditional WAN setup would require the enterprise to have many pieces of physical hardware and invest in the purchasing and maintenance of all of them. This WAN setup usually includes a number of devices that are both expensive and difficult to maintain. Despite all the investment it requires, it still functions rather inefficiently, unable to optimize data transfers due to high latency and low bandwidth.

Instead of requiring you to invest in tons of expensive hardware, an SD-WAN system, on the other hand, takes the more modern route: the internet. By using the cloud to access the main control panel which directs instructions to the various hardware located through the various locations and data centers, SD-WAN effectively makes managing and controlling tasks much easier. Managing a WAN through software makes making changes to the hardware easy, based on the requirement and fluctuating need of the company and its customers. This gives a huge benefit to the enterprise, giving them a greater degree of control accompanied with relative ease and inexpensiveness.


So why should you be employing the use of SD-WAN in your workplace, other than the need for efficient data transfer across enterprise branches?

There are several important features that an SD-WAN system possesses which brings real value and optimum efficiency to a company’s network. First and foremost, an SD-WAN system is an upgrade on a complex WAN – one in the effort to achieve the same result. While the technologies used in SD-WAN and the services offered by it are not new, this is the first time that they have all been bundled up and presented in the form of a cohesive pack of functionalities. The software-based controls allow for the respective people to be able to make centralized configurations and settings over the cloud, which is incredibly secure and cost effective. This panel can be used to deploy data to the various checkpoints and centers located over an expanse with ease, without risking system failures due to overload.

Having an SD-WAN system allows a business to save on what would otherwise be spent purchasing many devices and boxes, the hardware which is a prerequisite for traditional WAN networks. Another reason why the use of SD-WAN is gradually becoming more and more commonplace is its ability to support and harbor a multitude of different programs, including MPLS as well as the likes of LTE and the general Internet. The setup is as simple as it can get via a UI, akin to setting up an online account on a website. The controls are easy to understand for anyone who is in touch with modern technology, a trait which is quite prevalent in the current generation entering the workforce.


If that isn’t enough to tip you over, the fact that many companies are looking to shift to SD-WAN shows that it is quickly gaining traction and its functionality is being recognized by many around multiple industries. As statistics show, the SD-WAN market, which lies at an insignificant 5% share in the market today, is expected to rise up to $1.3 billion by the time the year 2020 rolls around, owing greatly to its annual growth rate over 59%.

Everything suggests that SD-WAN is, indeed, the next big thing in the market- in fact, it has already arrived and is being actively taken up by many large enterprises in order to make their processing and data transfer as smooth and efficient as possible.

By Steve Miller-Jones, VP edge strategy and solution architecture at Limelight Networks.
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