The WAN Rules in a Software-Defined World

May 12, 2017

By Laura Stotler, SD-WAN Contributing Editor

We live in a content-driven technology world, and bandwidth-hungry applications and services are driving business and changing the entire network landscape. How can a business ensure its network can handle the traffic, remain scalable and agile and operate seamlessly without breaking the bank and incurring serious capital expenditures?

The answer is the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and it’s how organizations can take advantage of their existing hardware and cabling to handle web-scale networking traffic. Reinventing the network is simply not an option for most businesses, which are under pressure to increase revenues, foster innovation and development and remain agile and flexible. And that means ensuring networks can handle the influx of traffic driving today’s subscription and services-based technology economy. Using software to manage network resources and traffic is an ideal solution, enabling network engineers to re-architect their existing resources without incurring giant capital expenditures.

The SD-WAN approach actually involves reining in a sprawling, spiraling network comprised of BYOD, the cloud and a massive number of endpoints. The number of variables and parameters within the WAN is only going to continue to increase, which means network engineers need to simplify network operations and management, assuring they remain in alignment with core business objectives. Additionally, the network needs to be adaptable to changes of scale and operation and it needs to be agile. Legacy hardware-based networks are none of the above, which is why the software-defined approach is an ideal solution, enabling changes in hours or days instead of multiple months.

As networks become more complex and expand to include more endpoints and solutions, manual configuration and management of resources is time consuming, labor intensive and wasteful. Building intelligence and autonomy into the network is the answer, enabling traffic to be routed via the quickest path and automating rote tasks like upgrades and patches. The result is a smarter, faster network that operates seamlessly and with much reduced downtime. In addition to automation and central administration and management, the software-defined networking approach also provides visibility into the entire network for better and more accurate troubleshooting and traffic routing.

Enterprises and businesses of all sizes need not reinvent the wheel when it comes to improving and re-architecting their networks. The SD-WAN approach to upgrading the network is cost effective, lean and inherently flexible and scalable. In other words, an ideal fit for the bandwidth-hungry, services-centric applications running over today’s corporate networks.

Edited by Maurice Nagle