A New Look at Your Enterprise Network with SD-WAN

A New Look at Your Enterprise Network with SD-WAN

20 July 2020

Products & licensing
Technology review
Networking & Security

By Niels Stevens, Enterprise Technology Expert, Realdolmen

Now that companies are increasingly relying on cloud applications, are rolling out new or temporary offices more quickly and are supporting large-scale working from home, traditional WANs are having a harder and harder time trying to keep up. SD-WAN offers an appropriate solution to all these issues.

WANs or Wide Area Networks are a familiar concept. These networks use MPLS or VPN to link a company's various sites. The fact that the routing configuration between those locations remains static was never a big problem until now. These days, however, a WAN is less and less adequate. This has a lot to do with the use of cloud applications, users who are constantly moving between different locations and companies that want an easy way to add temporary locations, such as pop-up stores, to their network.

The reasons why a traditional WAN won't always meet today's needs is partly down to practical problems. For example, the time between requesting and rolling out a new MPLS line can often be measured in weeks or months. Once tha challenge is resolved, with a WAN capacity-related problems are increasingly likely. Providing your employees with the latest and greatest devices will only lead to frustration if the applications can still only run slowly over the network.

Software provides the answer

SD-WAN removes that limitation. SD stands for software-defined. The underlying hardware isn't all that different from the equipment from which a traditional WAN is built. The real difference is the SD-WAN's software. This software supports centralized network administration and focuses on applications in particular. That makes it much easier to adapt the network to users' actual needs. Just as importantly, SD-WAN heavily reduces the dependence on MPLS.

With SD-WAN, the network typically won't rely solely on MPLS, instead it makes use of regular internet connections, 4G and satellite links as well. The first benefit is increased flexibility. A company that wants to quickly set up a pop-up store can add this location to its SD-WAN using 4G. Once they get access to an internet line after a few weeks, that can be incorporated as well. The same applies to a possible MPLS line at a later date.

Dynamic network

SD-WAN's greatest advantage is the solution's ability to switch dynamically between all the available connections. The software automatically assigns each application the resources it needs, ensuring that every application offers the best possible user experience. Often, dynamic allocation reveals that a company doesn't actually need to hang onto all its existing MPLS lines. This means SD-WAN doesn't just speed up your network traffic, it can help reduce costs too.

Though it most obviously benefits companies that have multiple sites, SD-WAN can be equally useful to organizations with just one location. After all, even smaller enterprises working out of a single office these days use a number of cloud applications. In the context of SD-WAN, we can see each cloud application and home worker as a small external location. SD-WAN offers an easy way to allow all the associated network traffic to run smoothly and adds the necessary redundancy to support optimal use of the cloud.

Making the right choice

So, SD-WAN brings nothing but benefits? That's about it. If you have a WAN in need of replacement, updating to an SD-WAN is an obvious choice. The only difficulty is figuring out how to choose from the wide range of options on the market. An overview put together by the Gartner research group currently lists over seventy suppliers. Realdolmen is happy to help you get started with SD-WAN quickly; from analyzing your needs, to selecting the technology, to implementation and all the associated support.

 

Want to learn more about SD-WAN?

Go here to watch a recording of our Wiki Live (Dutch presentation) with Q&As following each session and a Meet the Experts session. You can easily "zap" between the various topics, and pick out only the sessions that are relevant to your interests. Of course, you can also contact your regular Realdolmen contact person for more information, or send us an email at info@realdolmen.com.

Meer info?

Contacteer onze experten via info@realdolmen.com

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