Network, office, and business managers are always looking for ways to save money, improve their IT security and enhance the performance of LAN and WAN configurations. One way many managers of all flavors are achieving all three of those goals is through SD-WAN management.
SD-WAN provides smoother network functionality and greater security, saves money by reducing bandwidth and consolidating networking and security products, and uses the internet to replace expensive WAN technologies.
Here is a summary of SD-WAN, how it works, and what it can do for you.
What Does SD-WAN Stand For?
So, what does SD-Wan stand for? SD-WAN stands for “software-defined WAN.” That is a fancy way of saying that software will help you set the controls for your WAN(s) and will do so via one set of commands that manage several different types of network connections.
How SD-WAN Works
SD-WAN allows for controlling the command plane of a WAN and streamlining its processes to allow for easier development and distribution of WAN control commands.
Rather than having separate control protocols for different WANs for internet connectivity and private networks, SD-WAN takes individual WANs like broadband, LTE, T1, and MPLS and puts them under one encrypted network framework. That allows for a single, widely applied command versus configuring each WAN for every WAN connection.
Practically, a network manager can save time and money and reduce troubleshooting errors quickly and easily by issuing one command from a central management point. A single command, a central management point, is opposed to the current process of having to configure every WAN connection separately.
For example, if your organization has 50 different locations, each with random and multiple methods of communicating, to update the command page, the network manager or team must update each site manually. SD-WAN lets the network manager update all 50 sites from one location using a single command that converts to each WAN communications backbone.
The Real Power of SD-WAN – 6 Advantages
Multiple benefits of an SD-WAN range from logistical advantages to financial gains. Here are a few.
Streamlined, Error-Free Controls
Having to input a single command at the command plane instead of multiple for each communication method reduces the chances of user error. A single command across the entire network avoids troubleshooting lines of code when an error is made, saving both time and money.
It also saves time because it is a streamlined process of one command versus having to input many lines of commands. SD-WAN’s use of automation to help facilitate connectivity across mixed communications environments lets network administrators manage all their WAN links from one place using one protocol.
That one point of communication makes things easier and ensures more coherent and uniform management. For example, restricting access to certain websites is no longer a process of figuring out multiple protocols and troubleshooting when those protocols interfere with access users need.
One command across the entire WAN means instant restrictions. If troubleshooting is needed, it all comes from one point on the network. The system also allows for application prioritization if restrictions are not feasible. That means apps that potentially hog bandwidth but are not needed to do work can be prohibited, freeing up space for less bulky apps.
For instance, suppose you wanted to restrict access to social media because it used up your bandwidth and slowed down your network. However, you do not want to prohibit access outright because some users need access to social media networks to do their work.
With SD-WAN, you can prioritize the apps allowed to use the network and make social media a lower priority without an outright prohibition. Thus, employees that need access to social media have it at a fair distribution rate, while users who need to run other apps can do so without penalty.
SD-WAN also allows for WAN-wide analytics. Rather than having to run multiple analysis tools across multiple protocols, SD-WAN converts one analysis tool across multiple protocols and converts them to fit each type. That allows for WAN analysis of performance metrics at the touch of a button and more readily identified system metrics because everything is uniform.
Smoother End User Experience
Users can connect to networks, data centers, and multiple clouds more easily via SD-WAN. Under a single protocol, apps load and run faster, allowing employees to get their work done quicker and with less frustration.
This benefit becomes apparent during high-volume periods on your WAN. The streamlined management and administration processes run with less interference, so load and execution times are improved during those periods. Waiting for the proper amount of bandwidth or competing against other users is eliminated.
All communications across your WAN become encrypted with SD-WAN. Additionally, all security begins at one point, and only one protocol is needed for a system-wide application. That reduces vulnerabilities unique to each connectivity channel and makes controlling access to the network easier and more streamlined.
Permissions, for example, are no longer a single line of code replicated over and over via manual input. Instead, one command affects all WAN communications. That makes security administration quicker and more secure because errors can be quickly identified and remedied.
SD-WAN allows for intelligence-based routing when connecting to different types of transport services. You no longer need the same connection types at each point on your network but can customize connectivity based on throughput performance. The software identifies the best way to route traffic and directs that traffic through that point.
Intelligent software-based routing eliminates bottlenecks or overuse of one transport service. The software will route traffic to even out the load across all transport services if a service is under-utilized. The user is not aware of any of this. They only see throughput speeds that exceed the performance they were used to experiencing.
SD-WAN solutions not only make an organization more efficient, but they also make it more secure while improving the overall user experience. The entire organization benefits from administration to end users even as management costs get reduced. SD-WAN is a win-win for all involved.