A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solution has several advantages over conventional enterprise Wide Area Networks (WAN). Cutting costs and simplifying IT operations are among the top advantages of SD-WAN for enterprises. A conventional enterprise WAN can deliver a similar user experience to employees scattered across states, regions, and continents. An enterprise WAN can be very good at delivering a specific application to a branch office or remote production location.
Limitations of a Conventional Enterprise WAN
In the past few years, the limitations for enterprises have begun to grow:
Insufficient bandwidth. A conventional WAN may struggle to keep up with the bandwidth requirements of today’s cloud-based applications such as Salesforce and Office 365.
Time consuming route configuration. Configuring a WAN requires IT technicians to visit the remote site, install a router, and revisit the site every time a glitch needs fixing. Setting up and supporting the router is time consuming because much of the work is manual.
Expensive MPLS connectivity. MPLS connectivity is far more expensive than public Internet service.
MPLS connectivity deficiency. Moreover, the shortcomings of MPLS connectivity often undermine the value of real-time apps like VoIP and video conferencing — producing echoes, cut-outs, and other audio annoyances.
These issues have opened the door for software-defined wide area networking, or SD-WAN.
Advantages of SD-WAN for Enterprises
With SD-WAN, enterprises can abstract their branch office network into a software application that provides centralized access to the entire network. Low-cost public Internet reduces connectivity costs while granting ready access to cloud-hosted applications.
Let’s take a quick look at the advantages of SD-WAN for enterprises:
1. Superior application experience
Today’s mobile workforce needs access to a wide array of SaaS products for scheduling, collaboration, navigation, communication, and many more functions beyond the essential CRM and office productivity software so many enterprises use. Moreover, IT leaders need to support their networks on any device in any location that has Internet connectivity. These twin forces create a strong incentive to adopt cloud technologies. MPLS-connected WANs can deliver solid performance to a single application, but the architecture isn’t well suited to using multiple cloud-hosted apps. With so much compute and storage functionality moving to the cloud, conventional WANs can’t keep up with the needs of distributed enterprises and their always-on employees.
2. Sophisticated traffic management
The notion that public Internet service can outperform a dedicated MPLS line seems naïve at first glance. Businesses used MPLS precisely because of its superiority over public Internet services, which suffered from packet loss that degraded the user experience. The perpetually falling cost of bandwidth, however, motivated the pioneers of SD-WAN technologies to overcome these challenges. Today’s SD-WAN for enterprise software and hardware can optimize and rebalance public Internet traffic to outperform MPLS while granting access to a vast array of cloud applications.
3. Simplified networking
SD-WAN systems use a networking appliance that’s easy to configure and scale to an enterprise’s precise needs. A centralized interface allows IT pros to configure, manage, and monitor the system from a single, easy-to-use dashboard. Across the width and breadth of a global enterprise, the savings in technician site visits alone can prove substantial. When combined with the lower expenses of public Internet services, the low cost and reduced complexity make SD-WAN for enterprises a compelling choice.
SD-WAN as a fully managed service
The simplicity and cost advantages of SD-WAN make it an excellent candidate for cloud-based fully managed services, even at the enterprise level. When you partner with a managed SD-WAN provider, you hand off a substantial volume of networking duties to experts who design, implement, manage, and monitor your remote-office networking. That frees up your IT staff to devote more time to your company’s most important priorities. With every enterprise embracing big data, machine learning, and advanced analytics to survive disruptive threats, the fully managed option can give your company a computing edge.
Managed SD-WAN from Parallel Technologies helps enterprises move beyond MPLS connectivity. Our experts have decades of experience with data centers, networking technologies, and enterprise-level IT challenges.