11 reasons the C-suite must embrace SD-WAN

By Anthony Lobretto, SVP of Connectivity, 11:11 Systems

The global software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) market for large multinational enterprises is worth $3 billion, according to TeleGeography research. This accounts for just 5% of the total global market, while multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) is worth $17 billion and maintains 29% of the market.

However, Greg Bryan, Senior Manager of Enterprise Research at TeleGeography, forecasts SD-WAN will steadily replace MPLS: “Currently, MPLS exceeds SD-WAN, although we expect a considerable shift in the next few years as businesses demand better flexibility, reliability, and cloud access.”

Today, many C-Suite executives and network managers are rethinking their network architecture by leveraging SD-WAN to accelerate their digital transformation programs. Here are the key reasons to consider.

1.     Lower Costs

SD-WAN can dramatically reduce network costs by replacing expensive MPLS links with cost-effective broadband connections. These cost reductions can add up if an organization has been using multiple MPLS links for high availability, particularly in legacy network architectures. It can reduce the amount of on-premises hardware and software needed at each location, alongside associated maintenance costs, and the requirement of IT overhead and operational spending is scaled down with automation and self-managed protocols.

2.     Cloud Power

Traditional WAN or MPLS were never designed for the cloud and are based on conventional routers. In a digital-first world, the cloud (whether private, public, hybrid or multi-cloud) is fundamental to business resilience. SD-WAN was created to support cloud-based and hyperscale applications, such as Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Microsoft Office 365, which have become an essential component for an enterprise today. Users can connect to cloud platforms with greater speed, reliability, and efficiency.

3.     Security

Instead of implementing security measures in each location, SD-WAN enables cloud-based management, establishes centralized policies, distributed enforcement, and centralized log aggregation at all locations. This ensures that security patches are automatically delivered, creating a consistent security position and enabling Security Operations to have a holistic view of the network.

4.     Deployment

SD-WAN enables rapid deployment and provisioning in difficult or remote locations without requiring technicians to visit each remote site. The low cost and ease of deployment allows organizations to expand quickly as they can get new locations up and running with much less friction. This simplifies deployment and allows organizations to be nimbler and respond to market conditions.

5.     Network Agility

MPLS wasn’t designed with agility in mind. However, SD-WAN was designed to enable maximum agility and flexibility. It enables enterprises to incorporate both private MPLS and broadband Internet links, reducing costs and complexity, and increasing agility and performance. By enabling policy-based routing, SD-WAN allows enterprises to meet the varying demands of cloud workloads and scale up or down with ease and agility. The ability to connect to new locations quickly is very important in today’s remote working age.

6.     Performance

SD-WAN takes advantage of all available bandwidth and network links to optimize real-time traffic and re-route it intelligently. An SD-WAN separates applications from the underlying network services with a policy-based virtual overlay. This overlay audits the performance of the underlying networks and automatically selects optimal paths based on the application’s priority to deliver the best cloud application performance (e.g., Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)).

7.     Visibility

SD-WAN helps to deliver end-to-end visibility, from an endpoint device to the application, regardless of where either is located. SD-WAN brings more visibility to the network through a centralized portal, making it easier to monitor operations and better gauge utilization and requirements. Increased visibility and the ability to monitor the WAN enables your teams to stay on top of cost, application performance, and congestion levels.

8.     Analytics

SD-WAN provides advanced analytics, offering clearer and instant visibility into cloud traffic, control over deployment, and the convenience of automated management. With modern day connectivity, it has become a necessity to take an in-depth look into WAN architecture to help maximize results, cloud efficiency, performance, and security.

9.     Management

With multi-cloud strategies on the rise, simple and seamless management has never been more important across an enterprise’s WAN. SD-WAN gives users the ability to view and manage connectivity across their WAN from a single integrated and centralized dashboard. This network view reduces complexity and makes it easier to manage at scale. SD-WAN also manages traffic prioritization and congestion, maintaining high-quality data transfer and traffic.

10.  Flexibility

SD-WAN brings increased flexibility as it enables the aggregation of different connection types, ability to scale connectivity up and down according to prerequisites, and less expensive connections can be used for delivering less critical data.

11.  Resiliency & Business Continuity

SD-WAN enables the management of multiple links with load balancing and failover paths to ensure that lost access to data and applications doesn’t happen. When poor performance or unavailability is detected, data flows switch to another route or transport layer, with insignificant impact on users and maintaining connectivity.

Conclusion

SD-WAN can be the most cost-efficient way to set up your network so you can maximize flexibility, security, and agility. Look into how SD-WAN can unlock the potential of your network today.