By Charles Stallings, Master Architect, IoT & Big Data Solutions
Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is the new buzz in communications right now, but is it hype or not? To be candid it’s not hype; SD-WAN represents the next step in the evolution of WAN technology. It is access to ubiquitous bandwidth; MPLS, Ethernet, Broadband Internet or LTE Wireless, and regardless of the provider it allows you to pull together diverse networks into a single, software controlled network. So what’s driving the need to consider SD-WAN, as your next choice of network? There are several aspects:
- More Devices – We are seeing an increase in demand for services and speed to implement them. The numbers of IoT-like devices; such as smart phones, tablets, sensors, and various other technologies, are expected to proliferate to an additional 6B (yes that’s a big “B”) in the next 5 to 7 years according to several studies.
- Diverse Work Locations – Customers (and employees) are everywhere. Technology allows people to work from their corporate offices, travel and work from hotels, restaurants, remote offices and even from home. As such, a digital enterprise needs solutions that will maximize available bandwidth.
- Hybrid IT – Services are now much richer and more varied. A diverse mix of collaboration, voice, video, and business applications are now being delivered from cloud and SaaS providers, leading to growth in bandwidth requirements.
- Flexibility – Customers need someone they can rely on to efficiently and securely move their data. Staying ahead of the curve and operating in an agile manner is the key to success.
So how do you accomplish all this, while trying not to spend too much time determining what network infrastructure resides where, and how to manage it all in such a diverse environment? The short answer is SD-WAN. Providing a homogenous WAN architecture, SD-WAN allows customers to use premium connectivity for services that require it and less expensive solutions for less mission-critical applications. Overall, SD-WAN is a next generation networking solution providing the opportunity to mesh and better utilize network connections with the following benefits:
- Cost Savings – SD-WAN can take advantage of dual lower cost Internet connections at a branch location, which can then be provisioned at a more economical price while larger corporate offices continue to use MPLS. Also, all connections/bandwidth can be utilized (no backup), so overall bandwidth per dollar costs are lower.
- Intelligent Path Selection – Routing can be based on state of the transport connections and is automated. The SD-WAN software evaluates transport availability and performance metrics, and chooses the best WAN path for users, applications, and/or SLA customers. For example, if latency is occurring via a broadband connection, traffic deemed important could be routed via the MPLS or wireless network.
- Application Aware Routing – SD-WAN has the ability to recognize and act upon applications which allow administrators to tie applications, users, policies, and security together.
- Visibility – SD-WAN has centralized control and administration for the entire WAN.
- Agility – Simplified configuration, orchestration and zero-touch provisioning result in quicker delivery.
- Security – Integrated full-mesh built-in encryption of control, data and management planes.
In a digital world, the challenges are numerous but the possibilities are endless. So it’s not hype. By embracing the next generation in network architecture like SD-WAN, you can accelerate your digital transformation and free up your IT staff and budgets from keeping the lights on, to lighting up your industry.
CenturyLink’s SD-WAN can deliver the People, Processes, and Tools to meet the demanding and ever changing, requirements of your enterprise. To learn more about CenturyLink’s SD-WAN, visit: http://www.centurylink.com/asset/business/enterprise/data-sheet/sd-wan-sellsheet-ss160184.pdf?=&utm_campaign=network&utm_medium=backlink&utm_source=thinkgig&utm_content=?search=SD-WAN and schedule a consultation today.
Charles Stallings is an IoT & Big Data Solutions Master Architect for CenturyLink with a focus on managed solutions and analytics that align with customer key strategic business goals. He is a member of the CenturyLink Big Data Sciences (BDS) leadership team at CenturyLink and has worked in the industry for over 25 years.
Throughout his career he has held many management and engineering positions; such as COO, VP of IT, Engineering Program Director, and Technical Advisor to CIO of the US Missile Defense Agency.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the US Air Force Academy, Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University and a Master of Science degree in Mathematics from Valdosta State College.
During his time with CenturyLink, Charles has been a principal architect of the Smart Venue (Location-based Analytics Solution) deployed at hospitality, retail, healthcare, education, sports and entertainment venues.
Charles lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife and two children.