Listen to what your business is telling you. With the deluge of cloud applications today – Office 365, Microsoft Azure, Unified Communications (UC) solutions, and much more – we’re asking a lot of our traditional networks. WANs are being pushed to their limits, carrying increasing amounts of data to and from multiple branch offices to mobile users, and to the corporate office. Using MPLS-only private circuits to route data back and forth takes traffic far off the optimal path – not to mention MPLS links are expensive. The combination of the cloud, mobile, branch networking, and IoT make it very clear – yesterday’s network infrastructure is struggling to keep pace with today’s digital demands. So, what are your options? Now there is with Software-Defined Wide Area Networking or SD-WAN. With recent improvements in performance, reliability, and cost, SD-WAN finds itself fast-becoming networking’s darling.
Compared to conventional WAN routers, SD-WAN routers are changing the game because they dynamically adjust application flows and traffic. An SD-WAN router handles traffic based on priority, Quality of Service (QoS) requirements, and security needs. But the question remains, is SD-WAN right for your business? Ask yourself these questions to find out:
- Are you moving more applications to the cloud? When it comes to providing secure, reliable access to cloud applications, it’s no cakewalk for network managers. It takes juggling cloud and on-prem applications on a daily basis. SD-WAN helps simplify operations by giving network managers a centralized view of application performance, and application QoS metrics. SD-WAN networks are application-aware so they align with business policies enforced across the infrastructure.
- Are you planning to adopt UCaaS in the foreseeable future? Organizations considering UC as-a-service should seriously consider the benefits of SD-WAN. To get the full benefit of UCaaS, companies require a robust network. With SD-WAN, organizations are no longer jockeying different networks priorities for voice, video, and data. Instead, teams consolidate all traffic and control it from a central platform, providing better visibility and simplified management. Many UCaaS providers are pairing their offerings with SD-WAN to deliver the added benefit of single-vendor management, implementation, configuration, and support.
- Has branch networking gotten too complicated? SD-WAN is an ideal counterpart for branch networking because it includes centralized management remotely through the cloud. Provisioning and troubleshooting connectivity and applications is a breeze. Setting up an IoT network is also simpler because staff onsite can plug in the router, giving IT administrators more flexibility and control.
- Is application performance suffering? Because SD-WAN routers intelligently steer traffic along the best available network path, organizations ensure full bandwidth usage and a reduced dependency on MPLS circuit. It also creates a more resilient network because the technology can leverage the most bandwidth-rich WAN connections possible. Performance improves because the technology allows users to aggregate several different connections functioning as one virtual overlay network, whether relying on MPLS, Ethernet, public internet or 4G LTE.
- What about current investments? One of the biggest benefits of SD-WAN technology is there’s no need for a complete network overhaul. Organizations can use new or existing MPLS circuits and use broadband from a variety of third-party providers, so there’s no need to ‘rip and replace’ current investments.
Networking for a new era
While MPLS will continue to serve as the ‘go-to’ circuit for delivering mission-critical traffic, it’s clear that SD-WAN is fast becoming the de facto standard for modern, agile branch networking. Enterprises are seeing the advantages of an SD-WAN network – a robust infrastructure ideally suited to our new, data-intensive world. If you’d like to learn more about SD-WAN or have other networking questions, talk to CTG! We’ve helped hundreds of SMBs simplify their branch networks while enjoying more flexibility and control. Don’t wait!