Today’s wide area networks (WANs) are getting quite the workout thanks to new Internet connectivity demands and the proliferation of cloud-based applications. Because of this, service providers and enterprises are taking a different direction when it comes to installing, implementing, and delivering WAN services. A growing number are now turning to software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) in order to help businesses navigate the complexities and challenges presented by today’s WAN demands.
Understanding WAN Challenges
Service providers and enterprises have two distinct challenges to tackle when it comes to their WAN infrastructure:
- WANs are steadily growing in complexity, adding an ever-increasing number of devices, management options, and optimization engines. For network managers, each element introduces yet another layer of complexity, resulting in a noticeable decrease in overall network responsiveness.
- A growing number of users and services are moving away from private WANs in favor of the cloud. This mass transition towards cloud-based networking brings with it a number of security and bandwidth challenges.
Meanwhile, the changes necessary to provide enterprises with a more effective WAN infrastructure require rigorous management and plenty of lead time to implement, which can put a drag on overall responsiveness. It doesn’t help that the security framework surrounding most WANs often proves cumbersome, which has a significant impact of its own.
Bringing the Benefits of the Cloud to the Branch Office
Traditionally speaking, networking environments have always been islands unto themselves – take the data center, for instance. It has its own networking environment that’s used to propel business applications. WANs often bridge the various gaps between data centers and remote locations.
Instead of relying on multiple networking environments, SD-WAN introduces a single network policy framework that provides seamless interconnectivity, thus allowing network intelligence and business policies to proliferate across the WAN and the data center.
Meanwhile, virtualized network services (VNS) providers are utilizing software-defined networking (SDN) to help promote reliable connectivity between sites. SDN utilizes an overlay model that’s capable of using any IP network to provide an overarching policy and control framework for cloud applications and their end users.
Overall, SD-WAN aims to provide simplicity in a traditionally complex environment by giving enterprises more freedom to choose the networking solution that works best for their branch offices, and by reducing the number and complexity of devices installed at branch locations. To learn more about how SD-WAN can benefit your enterprise, contact eXemplify today to speak to one of our Cloud Strategy Consultants.