SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) is quickly gaining momentum and buzz in the marketplace. According to the Gartner Group, 30% of enterprises will have an SD-WAN by 2020. Drivers of SD-WAN interest include growth in cloud computing combined with the need for businesses to run more efficiently and effectively.
SD-WAN offers a solution to these drivers of change. By making WAN functionality available through a centrally managed, uniform appliance that connects through virtually any cable or broadband provider, SD-WAN can be more flexible and economical than existing WAN options. As SD-WAN adoption grows and more organizations get on board, the question becomes: How do you really make SD-WAN work for your business?
Selecting the right SD-WAN solution
Anything worth doing is worth doing well, so choosing the right SD-WAN solution is paramount. To help sort out the top features you should look for, Gartneroutlines the following four characteristics that an effective SD-WAN solution should support:
- Must support multiple access types – You should be able to choose the right kind of access for your business, whether that’s MPLS for certain high priority applications, Internet where you need to get closer to Internet based applications such as Microsoft Office 365 or even wireless for kiosk-type based services and sites.
- Can perform dynamic path selection – How can you leverage different access types? One approach is to create policies to send the right kind of traffic type over the most optimal transport type. Traffic shaping policies and dynamic routing protocol-type methodologies allow for an application itself to take the appropriate route. For example, if YouTube traffic gets too high on one route to your network, you can re-route it so more mission critical traffic gets through.
- Provides a simple management interface – A centralized control portal enables you to manage policies across your wide area network. It should let you see how your applications are performing and enable you to deploy new sites easily with zero-touch provisioning.
- Must support VPNs and NFV – Your goal is to have a single overlay network that supports virtualization functions like WAN optimization, site-based security on firewalls and network address translation.
These features will help you increase visibility, reduce network complexity and increase the overall agility of your network. With SD-WAN, you can get your users closer to the cloud applications they need without causing a network bottleneck in your data center. Selecting the best SD-WAN strategy for your business in imperative in order to get the results that you want.