By Paul Ruelas, Director of Network Products
Today’s enterprise IT leaders are more determined than ever to use the latest network technologies to meet evolving business needs and support digital transformation efforts.
As such, there has been much excitement in the industry over SD-WAN and its potential to leverage the cost/performance benefits of Internet access. This enthusiasm is justified as the cloud era and the proliferation of remote and mobile users is driving tremendous change in WAN traffic patterns and complexity.
Offering centralized control of WAN traffic flows over multiple network paths – from MPLS to Internet – provides effective access to secure and cost effective connectivity and redundancy. And, according to IDC Research, SD-WAN and Internet, for example, make a lot of sense for cloud workloads and branch office connectivity.
There is also a less-celebrated and even more valuable aspect to the SD-WAN story: application-based routing. Offering a tremendous advantage by building intelligence into the network to understand applications and their particular bandwidth requirements, application-based routing presents a powerful value proposition for the new class of cloud applications being implemented across all areas of the enterprise – from human relations and marketing to financial management.
Yet, despite its potential, SD-WAN still remains an emerging concept for many businesses according to Enterprise Management Associate’s recent study, Next-Generation Wide-Area Networking. In the report, analysts found that slightly less than one-third of the 200 enterprises surveyed have completed a production deployment of SD-WAN technology.
Furthermore, “a large number of SD-WAN adopters are converting between 40 percent and 60 percent of their remote sites to the technology and the top driver for these projects is a need for improved application performance,” according to the study.
Automation is Key
The pain of “managing application traffic based on competing needs is a continual thorn in the side of IT and the ability to automate the quality of the experience is compelling,” notes a Current Analysis report by GlobalData in its discussion of near-term drivers for SD-WAN adoption.
With application-level routing, SD-WAN solutions clearly add value to the enterprise as a performance-enhancing technology. Additionally, dynamic application-level routing makes it possible for businesses to set policies to switch transports on the fly based on their own defined parameters, as opposed to destination-based routing, which does not support this capability.
Additionally, multiple WAN links, including broadband, are used to enable dynamic application-based routing. But the set-up, design and maintenance complexities associated with SD-WAN could create some obstacles to fully realizing these advantages. To avoid execution risks and expenses, many businesses are looking to SD-WAN solution providers who design, deploy, maintain and provide ongoing 24×7 monitoring of the service.
“SD-WAN products already reduce operational management for the entire device and location lifecycle, but managed service providers can further add value by taking the deployment and infrastructure management off the customer’s hands and presenting a portal for customer management,” states the GlobalData report.
To learn more about how to put SD-WAN to work in your enterprise, sign up for our webinar, When is SD-WAN Right for You?.
Paul Ruelas is Director of Network Products at Masergy. He brings over 26 years of expertise in telecommunications, IP Networks, complex solution design, and product development. Paul has developed many Ethernet and optical products that enabled numerous global enterprises to transform their data communications infrastructures to improve business performance. He is an industry thought leader in communications transformation.