Global Spending on Digital Transformations, in all likelihood, will reach $1.3 trillion by the year-end. Indian enterprises are at the forefront, and over 90% have already adopted digital-first business strategies, or they are on track to do so.
Digital Transformations and Automation. These are no longer merely the buzz words but undeniable necessities for achieving sustainable business growth and excellence. The ongoing pandemic has strongly reiterated its relevance as the present-day reality and also the future.
Integrating digital technologies, improving existing operational processes, and creating new ones help meet customers’ evolving demands and deliver more value.
Enterprises must explore agile and intelligent ways of doing business. They should prepare effective network capabilities to penetrate-through location, device, type, platform, and other barriers or constraints for reaching their customers in a cost-efficient manner.
Traditional WAN or Wide Area Networks (the connection between local area networks separated by a significant distance) often struggle to handle growing application traffic and enable prioritization or bandwidth aggregation between multiple transports. That’s where SD-WAN, an industry-agnostic solution, plays a crucial role.
Aggressive fiber deployments, broadband expansion, enhanced network reliability, improved speeds, a sharp rise in cloud adoptions, complicated nature of applications running on home routers, and security concerns – are some of the critical factors why Indian enterprises are fast-embracing SD-WAN.
Let’s understand SD-WAN, its characteristics, features, and types of architectures. We’ll also go through its advantages for enterprise businesses.
SD-WAN Or Software-defined Networking in a Wide Area Network
- Pioneered in the US (2016-17).
- Regarded as the most recent capability in WAN.
- A software approach for managing Wide Area Networks.
- It is a virtual WAN architecture or a programmatically configured and managed WAN.
- SD-WAN is the technology for configuring and implementing an enterprise WAN, relying on software-defined networking (SDN).
- It utilizes a centralized control function for securely and intelligently directing traffic across the WAN.
- Uses software for controlling the connectivity, management, and services between data centers and remote branches/cloud instances.
Essential Characteristics, Features & Architecture Types of SD-WAN
- Centralized control and its ability to support various connection types, ranging from MPLS, Last Mile Fiber Optic Network, to high-speed cellular networks (4G LTE/5G wireless technologies).
- Make a dynamic path selection for load sharing and resiliency purposes.
- Support VPNs, and third-party services like WAN optimization controllers, firewalls, and web gateways.
- Ensure policy-based management by supporting quality of service (QoS) policy and determining what level of priority (QoS) is given.
- A simple easy-to-manage-configure interface.
- Resilience: A resilient SD-WAN reduces network downtime through real-time detection of outages and automatic switch-over to working links.
- Quality of service: Via application-level awareness and providing bandwidth priority to the most critical applications.
- Secure communication: Usually through IPsec.
- Application optimization: Using caching and storing recently-accessed information in memory to speed-up future access.
- Deployment options to choose from Pre-configured appliances or virtual appliances.
Common SD-WAN Architectures:
- On-premises or On-prem SD-WAN: Capable of only establishing connections between remote sites and not cloud services.
- Cloud-enabled SD-WAN: Can take advantage of cloud gateways for communicating with your cloud applications.
- Cloud-enabled plus Backbone SD-WAN: Benefits from the service provider’s nearest POP (Point of Presence) for boosting network performance.
Why Choose SD-WAN & The Benefits for Enterprise Businesses?
- Speed of Deployment: Setting up SD-WAN network technology and equipment is speedier and more effortless than traditional routers/gateways. The SD-WAN appliance can be plugged-in by individuals with little or even zero IT skills. With zero-touch provisioning, there is no need for an expert’s presence at the branch site or to set it up remotely.
- Lowers Complexities: SD-WAN simplifies WAN infrastructure by automating monitoring tasks, off-loading non-critical business apps, and managing traffic through a centralized controller.
- Network Performance & Agility: SD-WAN reduces common network issues like jitter and latency by automatically funneling traffic through the fastest-most-reliable connection. It enables your network engineers to quickly respond to new WAN services’ requests and make necessary changes to existing services.
Many task-completion times get reduced from hours or days to minutes. Real-time traffic management makes sure the traffic is immediately rerouted when a link fails/becomes congested.
- Improved Application Performance & Cloud Usage: SD-WAN improves application availability and performance by monitoring link health and redirecting traffic. It can enhance or reduce performance on an application-by-application basis. Specific applications can be prioritized, leading to a better experience for end-users.
SD-WAN makes it convenient to set up internet break-outs at remote offices and improve cloud-based applications’ performance. The latency is reduced, and user experiences for SaaS and other cloud-based applications go up by doing away with the need to backhaul traffic through a central point of internet access.
- Robust Network Security: SD-WAN’s inbuilt security protocols and encryption capabilities allow only authorized users to access/view assets connected to the corporate network. Granular control lets companies create policies for informing the network how a particular traffic type should be treated and keeping high-risk traffic from entering the network. Must opt for SD-WAN that brings integrated security features, including NGFW, IPS, AV, and sandboxing capabilities.
- Cost Savings: SD-WAN saves operating costs by leveraging low-cost internet, providing direct cloud access, and reducing traffic over the backbone WAN. Through centralized and policy-based management, it also saves administration, network services, and maintenance costs. SD-WAN cost savings, as per an IDC survey, could vary between 5 to 39%.
- The RoI: SD-WAN, by focusing on IT agility, performance, and efficiency, positively impacts your RoI. Its RoI is faster than most other IT investments, and enterprises can expect double-digit RoIs within a few months of deployment.
The world is moving away from typical routers to SD-WAN. Enterprises of all sizes realize the cost-efficiency benefits of making timely SD-WAN investments. 9 out of 10 router refreshes by 2022 will be replaced by vCPE or SD-WAN, and it is set to become the top networking system.
SD-WAN’s verifiable performance, streamlined management, affordability, and security advance your bottom line without IT headaches. It helps businesses cater to customers’ demands for application flexibility and Quality of Experience (QoE).
Infinxt SD-WAN, a secure SD-WAN, is widely acknowledged as the go-to solution for ensuring business agility, inherent economics, and optimized cloud architecture. It comes with an inbuilt next-generation firewall (NGFW) powered by Palo Alto Networks and results in increased application performance, improved user experience, enhanced business productivity, agility, and reduced IT costs.
Sources: State of SD-WAN in India Report 2020, IDC, Business Wire, ET CIO, Network World, World Wide Technology, Statista, Gartner, AI Multiple, Cox BLUE, Digi Analysys, DQ Channels, Tele.net, VOICE & DATA, Wikipedia, YouTube, and other independent information sources.