WHAT IS SOFTWARE-DEFINED WAN (SD-WAN)?
Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is a transformative technology that simplifies the control of application-driven infrastructure. Its hallmarks are simplified branch office connectivity, increased reliability, optimized application performance, and increased network agility. SD-WAN lowers costs, by providing a more cost-effective and automated branch and WAN architecture required to fulfill business initiatives.
SD-WAN aggregates diverse network circuits, like broadband, DIA, and LTE. These can be added to existing MPLS to create a hybrid network, or they can be an alternative to MPLS using all-Internet wired and wireless connections.
HOW SD-WAN WORKS
SD-WAN creates an overlay to virtualize the WAN with centralized control to simplify management and deployment of branch office services. SD-WAN creates a WAN transport agnostic overlay network and can replace legacy branch office routers simplifying the WAN infrastructure. SD-WAN provides greater control and management, providing application layer control of application service policies, to ensure optimum application performance.
A key element of SD-WAN is application-awareness. SD-WAN understands individual applications and their SLA requirements and translates them into policies that the network must adhere to. This provides active network and application experience monitoring to ensure optimal traffic delivery and QoE – whether on-premises, private/public cloud, or SaaS.
It provides an automated policy-based framework that is propagated from unified control and management, from a single-pane-of-glass interface. Visibility is enhanced, allowing IT insights into applications, devices, users, and networking, to ensure adherence to their business intent. This simplifies ITs ability to define, control and change business requirements across their branches, data centers and cloud/SaaS.
BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES OF SD-WAN
Below are some benefits that most SD-WAN solutions offer:
- Lower circuit costs by using broadband, DIA, LTE
- Increase network agility by simplifying control of the entire WAN
- Create an active-active hybrid network with MPLS, broadband, DIA, LTE for increased bandwidth capacity, and more efficient and higher per-site resiliency/availability
- Automation simplifies network operations, while templates simplify IT workflows
- Eliminate branch office device sprawl and complexity
- Provide-reliable and secure Internet access to cloud and SaaS
- Deliver network circuit and carrier independence
- Centralize and unifie the entire WAN to simplify management, deployment and change control
Rather than spending time and resources tediously configuring and managing networks, an effective SD-WAN solution allows enterprises to focus on deploying applications, like IoT, VoIP, unified communications, and edge computing services. Focusing on improving these business-oriented services, rather than managing WAN complexities, IT can add these (OTT) services with automated and programmable cloud-native platforms. Secure SD-WAN is a cloud-native platform that provides IT with an automated policy-driven WAN infrastructure. This transforms the network from a bottle neck impediment, to a business service implementation engine.
Secure SD-WAN adds features that provide a self-healing architecture and natively inserts network and security functions into the WAN. It accomplishes this by being application user-experience driven; monitoring the applications and network and improving and increasing the security posture with integrated security. Driven by application-based policies,the WAN and branch dynamically adapt to ensure network uptime, application reliability, and an optimal user experience.
- Secure multi-cloud connectivity supports cloud-to-cloud, branch to multi-cloud, and business to multi-cloud connectivity
- Embedded robust network and next-generation security features
- Micro-segmentation across the entire network to reduce risk zones
- Secure private/public cloud connectivity, regardless of cloud platforms, applications and transports
- Full multi-tenancy for micro-segmentation of line of business, tenant, and control, with unique policies per segment
- Context-based network and security policies, and traffic steering, based on users, devices, locations, and applications
TODAY’S NETWORK CHALLENGES
Cloud, virtualization, mobility, IoT, and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, are all contributing massive amounts of traffic and data over enterprise WANs. Unfortunately, they are also imposing network reliability and performance challenges, and escalating security breaches and attack surfaces that are expanding exponentially.
These technologies have created the need for simplified and consolidated IT infrastructure. Robust cloud-native VNF-based network and security services are needed in the service provider core, or central enterprise IT infrastructure, and within the network edges. Secure SD-WAN enables flexibility to be deployed as the uCPE platform to host other services, or as a VNF on a third-party uCPE or virtualization platform. Secure SD-WAN has the routing, SD-WAN, security, and more, all within a single software platform. This provides a cohesive, virtualized network and multi-layered security approach that eliminates siloed, single function appliances that add unnecessary risk, complexity and cost.
Any multi-location or digital-first organization that uses the WAN to communicate and connect with employees, customers and partners, should have the business intent directly influencing its entire WAN fabric. Yet, enterprise WANs, for the most part, unintentionally hinder their business. A legacy WAN becomes the bottleneck for the business because of an archaic approach to policy creation, adherence and execution. With an SD-WAN-driven network, business intent and application experience drives the underlying policy architecture, automates the deployment and creates a dynamic architecture to quickly adhere to business intent.
So, how does an enterprise WAN adhere to become driven by business intent quickly and dynamically? There are two key components that are required to accomplish this; a business-aware architecture, and a simplified and consolidated platform.
Secure SD-WAN addresses network challenges with our Secure Cloud IP platform. Secure SD-WAN assimilate business intent into the WAN, through our business-aware architecture. Secure SD-WAN simplifies network and security infrastructure with a multi-purpose platform with native networking and security apps and services capabilities.
Secure SD-WAN removes the complexity of maintaining uniform policies, and keeping policies up-to-date across disparate platforms:
- Secure SD-WAN’s identity management ensures SLAs, by binding contextual policies with users, applications, destinations and paths, through Active Directory integration
- Secure SD-WAN includes advanced layers 3-7, with full routing, SD-WAN, and a next-generation security stack
- Everything is managed by an SD-WAN Director with orchestration and analytics, and all functionality is incorporated into a single view, to easily control the entire SD-WAN and WAN edge security
Network architectures have always found ways to adapt to changing business dynamics. Legacy WANs are being deployed as hybrid WANs. Hybrid WANs benefited from appropriating a software-defined approach, which led to the automation, agility and increased intelligence from SD-WAN. Today, SD-WAN has gained greater value through being delivered and managed from the cloud. Cloud-delivered SD-WAN is a powerful automated, on-demand, and proactive business asset, that enterprises leverage to streamline secure connectivity services to optimize branch offices and IoT.
SD-WAN devices understand application traffic flows. This allows an administrator to use application and identity-driven policies to selectively make intelligence decisions that adhere to business intent. For example: to ensure voice service is always optimal, analyze voice traffic to determine how well the user experience is, or analyze network circuits to determine how well they are performing. Then correlate those together to make dynamic decisions to optimally traffic steer across the WAN. Application and identity-driven policies can be contextual to who you are, what you are using, and where you are.
Secure SD-WAN ensures application security, reliability and performance for virtually every industry,such as healthcare records, banking systems, retail POS systems, airline reservations and logistics, and much more. Whether the application is for internal business operations, commerce, customer relationship management, industrial and utility systems - everything today is network connected.
Secure SD-WANfrees IT from single-function and proprietary hardware,eliminating the need for dedicated hardware for each network function. Virtual network services can be provisioned on a universal CPE (uCPE), using an x86-based appliance that hosts Secure SD-WAN’s software, and supports 3rd-party VNFs.
Enterprises can take advantage of a software-only solution, that gives them cost and operational flexibility, and ensures they have the control to deliver on their business objectives. They are able to leverage an open-standard-based cloud-native, multi-stack solution for embedded network and security applications with robust features, as well as, third-party VNF services using their brand preference.