A smarter WAN in jiffies

Times have changed as we entered the 21st century, or we can say the new tech world. Thus, IT (information technology) realized that traditional WAN is not the one we need to manage massive data traffic. The traffic is responsible for data vulnerability, management complexity, and application performance unpredictability.

A new era, new day, new WAN!

A new business model boosts the need for a new network model.

SD-WAN – all-new WAN 

A Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a computer-generated (virtual) WAN design that enables organizations to influence any blend of transport services—including broadband internet services, MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching), and LTE (Long-term Evolution) to connect users to applications securely.

In short, it is a software approach that manages wide-area networks between data centers, offers central manageability, ease of deployment, and reduced costs. Thus, it can enhance connectivity to branch offices and the cloud.

This innovative attitude to network connectivity can reduce operational costs and enhance resource usage for multisite deployments. Thus, network administrators can use bandwidth more effectively and ensure a high level of performance for critical applications without compromising data privacy and security.

An SD-WAN deployment may include virtualized customer premises equipment (vCPE) or existing routers and switches. As per one of Gartner’s reports, vCPE and SD-WAN are major technologies to support enterprises in transforming their networks from “fragile to agile.”

Gartner stated: “We believe that emerging SD-WAN solutions and vCPE platforms will best address enterprise requirements for the next five years, as they provide the best mix of performance, price, and flexibility compared to alternative hardware-centric approaches.”

Further, Gartner says, “Specifically, we predict that by 2023, more than 90% of WAN edge infrastructure refresh initiatives will be based on vCPE or SD-WAN appliances versus traditional routers (up from less than 40% today).”

As per Gartner, SD-WAN has four characteristics:

1. Must support multiple connection types (MPLS, LTE Long Term Evolution, and internet)

2. Can make dynamic path selection (allows load sharing across WAN connections)

3. Offers a simple interface for managing WAN (should support zero-touch provisioning)

4. Must support VPNs and other third-party services such as web gateways, WAN optimization controllers, and firewalls

How does SD-WAN work?

An SD-WAN allows cloud-first organizations to deliver a superior application quality of experience (QoEX) for consumers. Using intelligence and by identifying applications, an SD-WAN offers application-aware routing across the WAN. Thus, according to business needs, each application receives the appropriate security and QoS policy enforcement.

For instance, we can take an example of how Cisco SD-WAN architecture works.

Cisco SD-WAN is a secure and cloud-scale architecture that is scalable, open, and programmable. Using Cisco vManage console, one can immediately establish an SD-WAN overlay fabric to connect data centers, campuses, branches, and colocation facilities to advance network speed, efficacy, and security.

Why SD-WAN technology?

Time has changed, and traditional WAN is no longer appropriate for colossal data traffic.

SD-WAN offers smooth performance for critical applications without sacrificing data and security privacy, WAN simplification, and lowers costs.

Benefits of SD-WAN

Using this networking type, IT can offer a better application experience, enhanced security, optimized cloud connectivity, and simplified management.

Little history:

SD-WAN technology has evolved from the MPLS technology, which has powered private connectivity for more than two decades. The technology can also be seen as a software abstraction of the MPLS technology. While SD-WAN unites the complete WAN backbone, it provides comprehensive analytics across the network worldwide.

Evolution of SD-WAN

  • SD-WAN 1.0 – hungry for bandwidth

It focused on solving problems of availability and last-mile bandwidth.

  • SD-WAN 2.0 – the rise of SD-WAN startups

With application-aware routing, SD-WAN could move away from being entirely reliant on MPLS links. Thus, route traffic based on the application type.

  • SD-WAN 3.0 – reaching out

The latest stage focuses on going beyond networking branch locations as enterprises are moving to the cloud. SD-WAN offers a solution for securely connecting these cloud deployments to the enterprise WAN.

Looking at the above information, we can say that SD-WAN has arrived, and organizations worldwide are looking forward to adopting the technology.

Just imagine, what all we can expect from this technology as it enters its next phase.

Let’s preview some of the ways Cisco is working to bring more flexibility, control, and functionality to SD-WAN.

  • Turning the internet into a secure and manageable WAN
  • Virtualizing network functions for the SD-Branch
  • Enhancing application quality of experience with WAN optimization
  • Edge-to-cloud protection with integrated SD-WAN security stack
  • Enhance branch connectivity, application QoE, and security

What is Cisco SD-WAN?

Cisco SD-WAN is a cloud-scale architecture designed to meet the complex needs of modern wide area networks via three key areas:

  • Simplicity at the organization level allows end-to-end policy from users to an application over thousands of sites.
  • Enhanced application optimization that delivers a predictable application experience as the business application strategy evolves.
  • Offers multi-layered security to deploy the right security in the correct place, either on-premises or cloud-delivered.

Cloud SD-WAN – a plug-and-play business-class WAN

SD-WAN gains momentum from becoming entirely cloud-based to offer instant WAN connectivity and streamline WAN connectivity and services to branch offices. The Cloud WAN virtualizes every single network function and delivers it as a service comprising basic network functions such as path selection and packet steering.

SD-WAN provided by cloud may invigorate your WAN architecture to deliver increased branch office agility, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) application performance, and orchestration simplicity for a user at every location.

Cisco launched its Cloud Native SD-WAN, also called a CN-WAN project, to tightly integrate firm network operations and DevOps team to bolster Kubernetes-managed microservices’ deployment.

Vijoy Pandey, VP/CTO, Cloud, Distributed Systems at Cisco, commented: “CN-WAN maps Kubernetes application attributes to SD-WAN network capabilities to optimize the application performance over the WAN automatically.”

As digital businesses are shifting applications to the cloud, IT is being challenged to discover a simpler approach to connect users and devices to cloud applications. Only Cisco SD-WAN provides applications to consumers and devices across any cloud without negotiating performance, visibility, or security.

Today’s branch network challenges

  • Expensive bandwidth
  • Rigid architecture
  • Branch complexity

Lee Doyle, the Principal Analyst at Doyle Research, commented: “SD-WAN offers compelling advantages for distributed organizations with critical branch operations, including the benefits of business agility, improved application performance, and lower cost of bandwidth.”

Last words..

Finally, we can say that SD-WAN is designed to address the varying use of enterprise networks due to the development of mobile devices and cloud computing.

Cloud-based SD-WAN resolves the issue of security by placing points-of-presence (PoPs) in the cloud. Thus, it allows users to connect through nearby PoPs and use SD-WAN with minimal latency impacts. Also, networking and security integration could enhance overall performance.

For more such insights, download our latest whitepapers on networking and SD-WAN.