The technology that we’ll be reviewing in this month’s blog is SD-WAN.  To be honest, this is probably an article that I should’ve written a while ago, but as they say “better late than never”.

My first introduction to SD-WAN came about 2 years ago.  When presented with this new technology, I was given all the compelling reasons why a company would utilize SD-WAN for VoIP.  Improved bandwidth performance leading to superior audio quality, Active-Active redundancy resulting in fewer dropped calls, and enhanced monitoring allowing for MOS-like scoring in real-time.

While everything listed above is fantastic for voice, it left me wondering why this was being positioned as a technology to be used solely when running VoIP.  Aren’t these benefits desired across the board?  What Network Administrator is NOT looking for better application performance, increased reliability, and more visibility into their WAN?  And don’t forget the potential to lower their monthly spend by migrating away from costly MPLS circuits.

In addition to the items listed above, there are a number of other reasons SD-WAN is becoming the “secret sauce” in next-generation network designs.  These are just a few key areas that come to mind:

Creating a Hybrid WAN
The ability to merge disparate WAN networks (MPLS, DIA, Broadband, LTE, etc) into one high-performing framework.  Implement dynamic path selection even on a per-packet basis regardless of transport type or carrier.

Optimized Application Performance
Eliminate the backhaul penalties of traditional MPLS networks and leverage the internet to provide high-performing connections.  Applications can be prioritized based on business policies automatically and in real-time.  Policies are written based on users/groups, the applications they can access, and the level of prioritization they should receive.

Security Overlay
With applications quickly moving to the cloud, there is a request to allow for branches to consume those applications directly without traversing through a data-center / security platform.  SD-WAN can provide an elegant way of bringing security to branches without investing into physically placing security devices at each branch location.

 Maybe it’s just a coincidence that many of the consultants and providers that I’ve been speaking with over the past year look to SD-WAN only when voice is a primary consideration, but I’m worried that many companies are missing out on a technology that could drastically improve their business just because SD-WAN has been pigeonholed.  In summary, SD-WAN offers the following:
  • Redundancy (Active/Active)
  • Aggregated Bandwidth (Utilizing multiple circuits as one)
  • Decreased Cost – No need for expensive MPLS circuits
  • Cloud Enablement
  • Simplified Security

There are a number of SD-WAN options in the marketplace today, and not all of them are created equally.  iSymplify has helped deploy close to 2,000 sites across multiple clients on SD-WAN.  If you’d like to discuss the options or are looking for assistance in finding the SD-WAN solution to best fit your needs, feel free to reach out!