This blog (How SD WAN can help you business) comes to us from a guest author, Damian Murray – Sales Director of Iricent. Our previous blog post (here) dealt with issues related to bandwidth consumption and the ever increasing growth in demand for bandwidth from various applications on the network. This growth in consumption and our ability to manage it are of particular importance as more and more of our applications and workloads reside in the cloud.
But what if we could see exactly what applications and users or devices were generating the traffic and consuming our bandwidth? What if we had control over how these applications and their traffic were routed? What if we could apply policies to suit the specific requirements and demands of the respective applications? What if we could deploy resilience on an active-active basis across multiple links, again on a per application basis? And finally, what if we could secure the traffic using sophisticated encryption to ensure the integrity of our data on the network?
Well the good news is that we can, using Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN). SD-WAN has emerged as the leading technology for dealing with the many demands of applications and users on the modern corporate wide area network (WAN).
The shift to the cloud, whether public, private or hybrid has brought about a change in the way we use networks and consume bandwidth and this in turn has brought about changes in the technology used to deploy and operate enterprise WANs.
SD-WAN uses Software Defined Networking (SDN) principles to separate the data plane from the control plane in the WAN. It abstracts the underlying transport networks (MPLS, broadband internet, wireless,) and shifts control intelligence from customer premises equipment (CPE) or edge devices to a centralized controller. This enables the implementation of a set of virtual overlay connections against which specific business driven policies can be implemented for individual traffic types on the network.
SD-WAN allows network administrators to apply policies based on individual applications or application groups to address the specific needs of the individual users or groups of users. For example, real time video applications need to have low latency and packet loss while transactional traffic might not but may require increased security due to its nature. Trusted traffic destined for the cloud can be broken out locally at a branch, thus removing the need to backhaul that traffic to a head office or data centre and in turn reducing latency while less trusted traffic can be directed to the data centre for enhanced security processing before leaving the corporate network.
From the outset, SD-WAN provides granular insights into which applications are consuming bandwidth on which connections, often on a per packet basis. This provides a powerful set of data which can be used to optimise policies for each specific application, traffic or user type. SD-WAN also provides enhanced security which ensures that traffic and data are protected on the network. The ability to route traffic on a per packet basis (Per Packet Steering) allows the network admin to direct specific traffic in the best manner possible, sometimes using multiple paths to ensure that the required performance is delivered.
SD-WAN also provides a single pane of glass view of the network, regardless of the underlying connectivity, ensuring better manageability thereby reducing complexity and ultimately reducing the cost of operating the network.
At Airspeed, we provide customers with a range of SD-WAN solutions and deployment options, including managed SD-WAN services tailored to our customers specific requirements. If you are considering SD-WAN or have already started to move to cloud based applications or if you simply want better network visibility across your wide area network, contact us today for more information.