Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is changing the way we think of networking today. SD-WAN’s networking infrastructure is bridging the gap between the needs of today and the requirements of the future. But, how much do we know about it, how can it transform an organisation’s IT ecosystem, and what are the benefits? Here our Network Architects share their insights and answer some of these commonly asked questions.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN is a new approach to deploying and managing enterprise WAN. It is entirely software managed (software-defined). It is an overlay technology which makes the customer network agnostic of the underlying infrastructure. It allows customers to manage their network independently of a service provider, which is unlike the existing MPLS.
What makes up SD-WAN?
There are three critical components in SD-WAN. First, the orchestrator or online portal, where all setup configurations and policies are defined. Secondly, there are branch or site gateways, which could be hardware or software appliances. Thirdly, depending on how agnostic the vendor is, there are cloud gateways or a gateway serviced by a selected vendor.
There are five key reasons why organisations should invest in SD-WAN, including:
- It can replace enterprises existing WAN or supplement it with additional capacity and resiliency levels.
- It can reduce the need for a WAN service and OPEX costs for enterprises, thereby allowing them to use inexpensive Internet circuits.
- It allows enterprises to become ISP independent. In other words, enterprises can choose any internet service provider, even a mix of multiple providers.
- Enterprises can quickly roll out new branches using standard policy and self-managed setup of SD-WAN.
- There is no tromboning of traffic in the network, and all SaaS and Internet traffic egress locally, while an enterprises security posture remains the same.
What are the benefits of deploying SD-WAN?
If organisations have the right architecture, SD-WAN can be seamlessly integrated, regardless of the service or configuration of it’s supporting network vendor, and reap many benefits including;
- Service provider Independence.
- Low operational and recurring costs.
- Reduced roll out time for any add move changes.
- Application-aware network.
How can SD-WAN integrate into an existing IT environment?
To achieve a smooth transition to SD-WAN without it affecting the performance of its current IT environment, there are several pre-engagement activities which need to be completed. Below is the checklist which all organisations should follow;
- Audit the current setup topology and bandwidths of individual links.
- Understand the current routing design.
- List the critical applications and their traffic flow, delay tolerance and other network parameters. Also, it involves application to application traffic. Benchmarking of current metrics would be needed.
- Tabulate user-profiles and users at each branch location.
- Lastly, a physical audit may be needed to understand the cabling setup, rack layouts and other physical aspects.
How can Oreta help?
As a service provider, Oreta can complement an organisation’s smooth deployment of SD-WAN by
- Conducting a workshop, which focuses on;
- conducting a Network Audit
- Developing an IT strategy and
- Outline increased usage of cloud infrastructure and other SaaS applications
- Providing an independent options paper for vendor selection.
- Planning migration, building and deployment of your SD-WAN roadmap.
- Designing a validation test for excellent tuning parameters and as a proof of concept.
Our skillset includes;
- LAN / WAN understanding.
- Incumbent routing protocol knowledge like OSPF and BGP.
- Understanding of the cloud-based infrastructure.
- Managed services team with experience of SDWAN deployment management.
For more information for the layman, one of our major partners, VeloCloud, has recently published a book ‘SD-WAN for Dummies’. It’s a great read and makes SD-WAN sound like a breeze. Here’s the link which can answer more of your pressing questions – Software Defined WAN eBook