The Role of SD-WAN in Cloud Computing and Digital Transformation

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The Role of SD-WAN in Cloud Computing and Digital Transformation

Businesses deploying digital technologies must optimize application performance, access, and security. This requires an intelligent network that can handle complex traffic without compromising on cost or quality of experience. Business-driven SD-WAN centrally configures policy from a single controller, enabling IT to push policies to edge devices automatically. This simplifies management and reduces the risk of errors that can impede network performance.

Cost-Effectiveness

Many organizations need help to meet business expectations for application performance at the edge. Employee productivity can be improved when SaaS applications are fast and reliable. And WAN costs rise when redundant MPLS connections are used for the same traffic to and from branch offices. Professionals at Versa Networks may help with the adoption of SD-WAN helps organizations overcome these challenges, providing significant cost savings in several areas, including network access costs, bandwidth usage, and security. Unlike traditional WAN technologies, which require individual routers to be individually configured using routing protocols, centralized control, and management are provided by the SD-WAN controller, this enables IT teams to change network policies on the fly and to manage and prioritize traffic centrally.

Additionally, SD-WAN allows enterprises to use various connectivity strategies at the edge – including MPLS, LTE, public internet, IPSec, and more. This enables businesses to save on costly MPLS circuits and to increase bandwidth efficiency by directing mission-critical applications (e.g., videoconferencing) over more robust links. In addition, a business-driven SD-WAN delivers continuous self-learning to monitor and adjust to network conditions, delivering consistent and optimal application performance in real time. This enables organizations to connect users at the edge to any cloud environment with the best performance and quality, even when there are congestion, impairments, or outages. A continuously monitoring SD-WAN ensures that the most secure connections are always chosen.

Scalability

The agility, scalability, and performance benefits of SD-WAN enable enterprises to deliver better user experiences for business applications, whether those apps reside in the cloud or data center. The technology offers centralized routing control, application traffic optimization, and network visibility. It also supports flexible connectivity between offices, home offices, and multi-cloud environments without requiring costly MPLS circuits. With its ability to bond any combination of WAN transport links, including broadband internet, 5G, and cellular connections with MPLS, SD-WAN provides significant bandwidth savings. It also enables enterprises to prioritize critical applications over lower-priority traffic, maximizing the use of cost-effective public and private network links.

In addition to providing cost savings, SD-WAN delivers a seamless on-ramp to the cloud with significant improvements in application performance, especially for those sensitive to latency or packet loss. This helps improve business productivity and customer satisfaction while reducing security risks. The centralized control offered by SD-WAN also simplifies networking, reducing complexity and time to deployment. It allows enterprises to deploy sites in minutes and to reconfigure them instantly, even as they migrate to hybrid clouds. It also improves IT productivity and total cost of ownership through automation, scalability, and service orchestration capabilities. In addition, it provides application visibility across overlay and underlay networks and between sites and the internet, allowing NetOps to understand WAN traffic patterns, service providers, link utilizations, and more.

Flexibility

For enterprises leveraging cloud and hybrid architectures, the need for flexibility in the network is critical. SD-WAN can help organizations use broadband, mobile, and 4G/5G connections to connect to the cloud while ensuring secure, high-quality connectivity. It also lets organizations augment existing MPLS connections with low-cost connections for better WAN availability. This flexibility enables businesses to reduce costs by eliminating the need for costly Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) links between branch offices and headquarters. The technology can identify and prioritize traffic to and from the cloud, ensuring priority applications are delivered with minimal latency and packet loss, minimizing cost. In addition, SD-WANs support centralized orchestration and automation via full APIs for greater ease of operations and lower time to deployment. This enables rapid, zero-touch provisioning of new field routers, dramatically reducing operating expenses and manual errors.

Finally, an SD-WAN can provide application optimization for the most sensitive workloads. This feature identifies the priority of an application. It determines how to route that traffic based on specific criteria, such as low latency or a connection over the best-performing path. This can significantly improve the application quality of experience and boost user productivity. In addition, an SD-WAN can be integrated with network security technologies such as CASB, FWaaS, and Zero Trust Network Access to deliver a seamless user experience. This helps organizations to securely and seamlessly access unified communications, SaaS applications, and IaaS in the cloud from anywhere, on any device.

Security

In addition to providing greater scalability and flexibility, SD-WAN helps enterprises secure their applications and data. In the past, when application traffic was backhauled to a central network security point, it was much easier to control and protect. However, security becomes more complex as business processes move to the cloud and employees connect from home, the airport, or the local coffee shop. An SD-WAN’s software intelligence can help ensure that applications are always connecting over the best available path. The solution can provide granular bandwidth allocations, prioritize traffic to critical applications, and enable rate-limiting for latency-sensitive applications. This helps to avoid performance degradation and improves the quality of experience (QoE) for staff working remotely. Many SD-WAN solutions have built-in network security features and can easily be connected to a cloud-based threat intelligence service to enable unified protection across the entire enterprise. Integrating these technologies directly into the solution makes it possible to eliminate siloed security systems and make them more effective by allowing centralized orchestration, true automation, and dynamic threat intelligence sharing. Another way SD-WAN enhances security is by using a virtualized connection, or overlay, to connect to the underlying network. This means that instead of having a physical relationship, which is vulnerable to outages, breakdowns, and maintenance, a new site can connect via the internet with an SD-WAN overlay that is far more resilient.

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