Uber is fast, convenient, and a complete shift in how we hire transportation. SD-WAN is to traditional networking as Uber is to Yellow Cab.
No doubt software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a paradigm shift, and enterprise is taking notice fast. The adoption rate for SD-WAN appears to be much higher than for software-defined networking (SDN), which has been around for more than five years.
Research shows that enterprise needs a new WAN that is simpler, more flexible, and cloud-enabling.* SD-WAN is an essential technology for creating such a network.
Is the Internet less secure than managed WAN? More and more, enterprises are replacing MPLS and other managed WAN services with internet connectivity. Recent research by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) confirmed this trend. Among enterprises adding new internet connectivity, 74% are using those internet connections to replace MPLS.
What’s driving this transition? Enhanced security — 49% of enterprises said the internet made them “more secure.” Tier 1 service providers are as vulnerable to a breach as anyone else. An MPLS network is only as strong as its organization’s weakest link. After all, the security of an MPLS network is dependent on the people, process and technology that is put in place by the service provider. Myth buster: Just because it’s a private network does not mean it’s more secure.
Is a public network like the internet an opportunity for improved security? When an organization integrates internet connectivity into the WAN, easier access to cloud-based security services becomes possible. Incorporating cloud-based security services into an existing security architecture is not only empowering, it is the future of the modern network.
An SD-WAN solution enables network managers to apply and manage cloud-based security services across their distributed sites. Thus, while the internet may be a public network, it can indeed enable a better security posture for many enterprises. Myth buster: Just because it’s a public network does not mean it is less secure.
The hybrid approach
EMA research found that the average enterprise is replacing MPLS with the internet at 45% of its remote sites.
Many enterprises, especially large ones, will maintain network architectures that are a hybrid of public and private connections. Application traffic tends to determine these connectivity choices. Typically, network teams prefer to forward traffic from secure enterprise web applications (HTTPS) over the internet, but they choose to support big data applications, storage replication traffic, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications with MPLS.
SD-WAN technology, coupled with hybrid network connections, enables a network architect to design a network that makes forwarding decisions based on application type.
SD-WAN technologies can lower costs, increase bandwidth, enhance security, improve stability, increase agility, improve visibility, and reduce dependency on service providers.
A true SD-WAN solution must include dynamic hybrid WAN connectivity, because such a feature allows enterprises to better utilize MPLS and the internet. Simple active-active load balancing does not deliver on this requirement.
SD-WAN’s dynamic hybrid WAN technology allows enterprises to create granular traffic-forwarding decisions based on network conditions and network and security policies. Legacy link-bonding solutions do not support this next-generation requirement. A failure to understand this key distinction will lead some enterprises to adopt a technology that fails to deliver on the promise of SD-WAN.
* From the report Next-Generation Wide-Area Networking published by Enterprise Management Associates. The report studied the future of the WAN through a survey of 200 enterprise WAN professionals.