Up to 90% lower costs, much greater flexibility than before and greater security: today, companies can no longer ignore the possibilities offered by an SD-WAN infrastructure.
Seldom has there been such unanimity among analysts: “The future of WAN is software-defined,” report the market researchers from Forrester Research. And their colleagues from Gartner warn: “Anyone who does not embrace SD-WAN will be offering their internal and external customers an expensive, sub-optimal user experience.” Even if cloud or big data are dominating the news from the IT world – barely no other issue is currently being discussed to such an extent in companies as Software-Defined Wide-Area Network.
One management, all connections
Particularly internationally active and highly distributed companies want to introduce cloud-based business applications, but face limitations when using old WAN infrastructures and traditional traffic management. This is where the Software-Defined Wide-Area Network comes in. It helps companies establish, manage and optimise a Wide-Area Network that can adapt flexibly to the application. An SD-WAN combines various network technologies in one WAN and places a virtual layer over this for management purposes. SD-WANs measure the transport quality via latency and packet loss and direct the traffic via the most suitable network transport connection according to application. SD-WANs which are provided as a service offer the advantages of traditional VPN services and also allow secure, direct Internet access and seamless expansion of the WAN to cloud services.
Flexibility is key
The greatest strength of SD-WAN is its flexibility: in the future, data traffic will be directed via the most efficient connection in each case; the application automatically balances available network resources and uses the connection with suitable properties in each case. If there are outages, the software finds the next best connection. In the past, IT departments have had to focus their attentions primarily on hardware such as line types, routers and firewalls, but now they can concentrate on service. A full management overview and enhanced analysis functions help them locate and resolve end-to-end performance problems.
Rapid market growth
Market data reflects the fact that SD-WAN is more than just hype: the analysts from IDC anticipate an incredible growth rate of around 70 per cent annually. In 2018, around ten per cent of all companies will use this technology, in 2021 it will be more than half, by which time the market volume will be over eight billion dollars.
One reason for this is the Internet of Things – the networking of machines, intelligent houses and vehicles –, which will be responsible for a further spike in data traffic for business applications. Besides this, the integration of radio technologies such as Wi-Fi, 4G and soon also 5G will progress. “SD-WAN makes network traffic visible and controllable, which is ideally suited to the requirements of IoT applications,” says Walter Bichsel, Product Manager at UPC in Zurich. The provider of connectivity, Internet, telephony and TV offers secure and flexible SD-WAN services on the basis of leading technology suppliers.
Service is a top priority
The UPC offer is ideal for companies that attach importance to round-the-clock service based on a Service Level Agreement and that want to benefit from the ongoing development of the SD-WAN services. More and more Internet, mobile and cable operators are offering SD-WAN as a service – value-added services with greater performance and security. These services reduce the management burden for users of the WAN, which in turn leads to lower operating costs, particularly for international data traffic. SD-WAN as a service can reduce the WAN costs here by up to 90 per cent.
More information on SD-WAN from UPC Business: