SD-WAN Proving to Be a Disruptive and Transformative Enterprise Networking Choice

July 14, 2016

By Laura Stotler, SD-WAN Contributing Editor

The enterprise is becoming savvy about the benefits of software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs), increasingly adopting the software approach as a cost effective way to gain more visibility into their networks and achieve more granular management functionality. SD-WANs not only vastly improve the performance of enterprise networks, but are driving innovation and development at a rapid pace.

According to IDC (News - Alert), the SD-WAN market is expected to generate $6 billion in annual revenues by 2020. Evolving from hybrid WAN architectures that contained some software-defined overlay, SD-WANs are poised to change the face of networking. The research firm cites consistent security, an attractive price point and reduced complexity as the three main features businesses want from their SD-WANs.

One of the most attractive features of SD-WANs is fast deployment, which means that new branch locations may be brought online and connected to the corporate network quickly and easily. This is one of the key factors driving adoption, as seen in recent deployments from national auto repair chain Service King as well as The Bay Club Company, a fitness club operator.

“SD-WAN makes it even easier to push configuration and policies to every location, whether it’s a single new office or changes to be applied all at once to 100 different locations,” said Eric Barrett, senior director of network product management at CenturyLink (News - Alert), a provider of a SD-WAN service that uses network functions virtualization (NFV) to provide centralized provisioning, scalability and integrated security.

Additional advantages of SD-WAN include higher bandwidth at all sites, resulting in better availability and quality of service. And the software-defined approach offers enterprise-grade security using public broadband, all with centralized remote management.

“Operational teams want to push more apps down to branches and store locations, to drive digital signage and communicate with the internet of things,” said Barrett. “That requires more bandwidth. But public broadband historically leaves you with fewer options for security and quality of service controls.”

SD-WAN solves the problem, offering scalability, flexibility and speed at an affordable price point. The technology is poised to seriously disrupt the way enterprise networking is handled, replacing or complementing legacy networks and driving development and innovation.

Edited by Alicia Young