Modern technology is a step closer to virtualisation. Moreover, the response to a global health emergency has taken the demand, and scale of digital adoption to the next level. The past few decades have witnessed a systematic shift from hardware toward a software-driven approach to technology, thanks to the internet and its added capabilities for conventional business.

Network security, performance, and stability are fundamental to the digital shift. And this is where the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solutions emerge, driving the secure network transformation. As organisations take their apps and workloads to cloud service providers, legacy WAN architectures might not sustain, and be enough anymore. Digital enterprises are leveraging or planning to leverage SD-WAN solutions for increased bandwidth, access flexibility, better user experience, and end-to-end security to support their multi-cloud and hybrid cloud goals.

Also read: 3 essential steps for a successful network transformation

What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN solutions are a smarter, cloud-first approach to setting up a WAN that lets organisations utilise any blend of data transmission services, including long-term evolution (LTE), multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), and broadband services, to connect users to applications securely.

Rather than routing the traffic based on the addresses, SD-WAN solutions are application-aware. They leverage software to more intelligently steer traffic across the WAN as per the business needs for an application. These include the performance required, the application’s priority, and the security policies that need to be imposed.

SD-WANs are rapidly becoming foundational to the enterprise network strategy. They are the best possible solution in line with the existing technologies as the vendors aim to maintain such scales of network capacities that let them smoothly tune to the ever-expanding user pool on the network. According to GlobeNewsWire, SD-WAN providers will mint around USD 19 billion by 2026.

Furthermore, with a software model, adding applications, adding locations, changing policies, and so on becomes significantly easier than the traditional router-based model.

What are the benefits of SD-WAN architecture?

SD-WAN solutions have emerged as one of the hottest topics in the WAN space over the last few years. The technology provides its users with many benefits based on their security needs, their company’s physical location, and the application types they utilise.

Cuts in expenditures

With centralised control and virtualized edges in an SD-WAN solution, the need for IT crews to configure and maintain additional hardware at the branches diminishes. In addition, the network fabric minimises or even staves off the need for private circuits. The software guides the traffic path and the scale of reliability it needs and then picks the ideal course according to the configurations you define. 

Furthermore, SD-WAN solutions empower hybrid models, which allow data transmission via Internet, MPLS, and VPN. As such, the data can be organised based on priorities through the most cost-efficient routes that suit your business budget.

Better application performance

SD-WAN solutions direct traffic based on application priority, for instance, prioritising mission-critical applications over usual Internet access. They analyse the performance of different pathways in real-time and allocate resources accordingly, whether an independent branch or a complex multi-cloud network is involved. This removes several network congestion problems of conventional WANs, improving the performance of priority applications.

Security perks

SD-WAN solutions manage the network security centrally instead of devising policies for each router dispersed across the company. They contain encrypted end-to-end tunnels throughout since your data will be traversing over the Internet to the cloud and other destinations.

Additionally, SD-WANs divide the organisation’s assets and establish separate regions, each bound by the internal security rules. Furthermore, given the virtualisation of several elements of SD-WANs, they are easier to restore during an adverse event and thus streamline disaster recovery (DR) strategy.

Sharper eye on the network

SD-WANs encompass a network overlay that lets businesses react to changing operational requirements fast (and remotely) by monitoring key performance indicators (KPI) – buffer, latency, and packet loss.You can orchestrate enterprise-wide connectivity needs from a centralised dashboard that provides complete network visibility across sections. With deep-packet traffic inspection, SD-WAN solutions offer additional analytics, security, and information into the kind of traffic travelling over the Internet.

Ideal for cloud applications

With many organisations now leveraging multi-cloud models, complexity has zoomed to such a degree that only an SD-WAN solution can handle it.

As SD-WANs are ‘application-aware,’ they improve the connectivity to the cloud, letting businesses utilise numerous underlay links to manage and direct user traffic based on the suitable performing pathway, the sort of data (video, voice, and media), and its destination.

The need for an agile architecture

The success of digital transformation and the corresponding adoption of innovative technologies rest upon a well-oiled network to link them en masse. To integrate the networking posture with the business’s digital transformation, the old network designed for a pre-digitisation, pre-cloud era needs to be re-imagined. With network demands reaching new heights, businesses are struggling to modify their WANs to the new reality.

That said, SD-WAN solutions make it easy for organisations to embrace connectivity technologies that are scalable, programmable, automated, and cost-effective. Also, this will help extract more substantial ROI from cloud solutions and is critical to boosting the efficiency of the remote workforce and levelling up the end-user experience.Furthermore, SD-WAN solutions offer organisations the agile architecture required to satiate the evolving demands of digital – and network – transformation.

Finding a global integration network platform

As the next-gen technologies hit the marketplace, every industrial segment is keeping up with them. As one of the primary domains, networking is venturing into digital transformation, riding on SD-WAN as the new-age network fabric. However, SD-WAN solutions come in many guises. Selecting the right network transformation service provider and solution is essential to prevent compatibility and orchestration issues in the long run.

Tata Communications’ IZO™ SDWAN is a complete SD-WAN stack for securely connecting businesses and users to the relevant applications, whether they reside in a data centre, on a remote LAN/WLAN, or in the cloud. More than 190 countries across the globe leverage the potential of our secure network transformation platform.  Count on us to step up your business with an Internet-driven, cloud-native SD-WAN solution smoothly and pain-free.

Contact us to learn more.

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