Business executives and IT leaders are always looking for the next big thing to propel their enterprise performance. Enter SD-WAN, a technology that’s been taking the wide area network industry by storm for the last few years.
If you haven’t heard of software-defined wide area networks, fear not. The market for these solutions is currently exploding, but there’s still time to learn what this technology can do for the network that connects your company’s branch offices or store locations.
What is SD-WAN?
As TechTarget contributor Jessica Scarpati explained, SD-WAN is a new approach for provisioning and ensuring the peak performance of your WAN, the asset that underpins your business’s most critical applications.
“It aims to replace traditional branch routers with appliances that use virtualization, application-level policies and network overlays to make several consumer-grade internet links behave like a dedicated circuit,” Scarpati wrote.
“SD-WAN provides more control and visibility for the IT team.”
Explained another way, SD-WAN provides more control and visibility for the IT team, enabling important network traffic to be prioritized according to current WAN conditions as well as unique policies created by your network administrators.
Market on the rise: Top factors spurring adoption
This description only scratches the surface of SD-WAN capabilities and benefits, many of which are encouraging widespread adoption of the technology. In fact, according to recent estimates, the SD-WAN market is poised for considerable growth as businesses in an array of industries better support their critical applications with these solutions. Currently, the market is on track to experience more than 90 percent growth per year through 2020, reaching an eventual value of $1.3 billion, SDX Central reported. Overall, software-defined solutions are expected to account for more than 70 percent of the growth in the WAN optimization sector.
But what key capabilities and advantages are spurring this growth?
- Improved application performance: Imagine if your applications had the ability to only send data traffic over the most robust network link. This would help eliminate issues like latency, jitter and packet loss. This would also mean that if an outage took place on one network link, traffic would automatically be re-routed to a more trustworthy link to support performance.Well, dream no more, because this is exactly what an SD-WAN solution is capable of. The technology continually monitors every path across the network, and only sends important data traffic associated with critical applications across the best path. Best of all, SD-WAN solutions can make split-second decisions about data traffic, so even if an outage takes place at the same time that your employees are trying to access important business apps, performance is still guaranteed.
- Visibility for the IT team: The constant monitoring done by the SD-WAN solution isn’t just used by the technology itself. Many SD-WAN systems also provide an in-depth dashboard to access critical metrics collected by the solution. This means your network administrators and IT staff always have a granular picture of WAN activity, as well as how available bandwidth resources are being used.
- Support for a hybrid WAN: Network architectures are quickly changing, and one of the most important shifts here is the ways in which companies are leveraging available bandwidth and connection types. Now, enterprises can utilize a number of different WAN links, and don’t need to rely on a single connection anymore. Technologies like MPLS and broadband Internet can be united within a hybrid WAN construction, and the support of an SD-WAN can help ensure that these links are all utilized effectively and that the network isn’t overly complex.
- Cost savings: Because SD-WAN supports all different types of connectivity, and allows businesses to use all of their WAN links in the most effective way, overall IT costs can be significantly lowered.
As the market expands, so too do the available choices for today’s enterprises. Cisco has been a leader in the SD-WAN market since the beginning, and the Cisco Intelligent WAN represents the gold standard in software-defined wide area network solutions.
To find out more, contact iT1 Source, a Premier Cisco Solutions Provider, today.