Introduction to SD-WAN
To meet the ever increasing customer demands, Organisations and service providers have been searching for ways to lower their WAN costs, improve application performance and migrate to cloud computing. “The need for IT to do more with less”: SD-WAN has come to fore and will address the dynamic Business requirements.SD-WAN makes proactive decisions about which network links to send traffic to and more – is becoming a key ask for organizations that want a superior experience. To understand difference between SD-WAN and Traditional WAN, please check our previous article: SD WAN vs TRADITIONAL WAN
Benefits of SD-WAN
SD-WAN has much more to offer. Below are the tangible benefits of SD-WAN for customers to realise –
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.
SD-WAN is designed to provide smooth flow of application and hence good experience for users by incorporating mechanism via probes to chooses the best available path for traffic. Latency, Jitter, packet loss and bandwidth utilization are monitored and traffic is moved to 2nd link once any of the monitored parameter goes below its threshold value.
Better Security –
Dissimilar to traditional WAN solutions which handle security through multiple vendor devices at each branch location, SD-WAN integrates all the functions into single device. SD-WAN can also provide cloud web content filtering services including botnet etc. for each remote site hence providing an improved and robust security posture.
Automatic Provisioning –
“Zero Touch Configuration” are not new to SD-WAN framework. These features in SD-WAN bundle can automatically configure the new branch devices without any dedicated technical resource required onsite. This not only reduces the provisioning time, also minimises the management and associated cost in activity. Additionally, QoS and security policy can also be pushed through central orchestrator across devices stationed in multiple remote sites to perform the day to day functions inline to Business needs.
Lower WAN OPEX and CAPEX –
SD-WAN allows business to use all of their WAN links in the most effective way thereby reducing the overall IT costs significantly.SD-WAN has led organizations to move from more expensive MPLS links to less expensive broadband links.
Additionally, SD-WAN module of “zero-touch provisioning” can bring up a new branch or remote location online easily and can be done in just a few minutes: In layman terms we may say “Just plug it in and turn it on”. No specialized IT expertise is required on premise at the branch.
Infact when any configuration changes are required, the same can be performed by single button click and policy is pushed across all devices in scope.
Detailed Application visibility –
SD-WAN has provision of deep application visibility and to align application criticality and performance to business needs. Based on the traffic performance and needs, policies to secure and control all WAN traffic can be performed. Real-time, historical tracking of end-user application and network performance is performed by SD-WAN platform (It can monitor throughput, loss, latency, and jitter of all network paths) .Alarms help to clearly target the cause of problem and as we know once the anomaly is detected, it becomes faster and easier to resolve service provider or device level issues.
Intelligent traffic control –
One of the most important advantages of SD-WAN is to provide intelligent path control that steers traffic based on application type. This traffic-forwarding capability can be set in place at the centralized controller level and then pushed out to all SD-WAN devices. Policies can be based on IP addresses, application profiles, port number, quality-of-service markings, time of day, or any other variable.
Uniformity of Policy control without human errors –
SD-WAN solution will perform control of QoS and Security policy across the organization- since all is centrally managed and pushed through central orchestrator which leads to regularity across locations. Not only is the error rate reduced drastically, the consistency of information across all the sites remains intact: This leads to ease of management and provides uniformity to overall WAN setup.
Cisco Viptela ZTP (Zero Touch Provisioning)