Traditional WAN vs. Software-Defined WAN

Traditional WAN is out of date - SD-WAN can make your network agile and efficient with the cloud

SD-WAN Technology

Almost every IT and business leader today is focused on creating a more agile business. The ability to adapt quickly to change without IT disruption is a true competitive advantage. However, this can’t be achieved without an agile IT infrastructure supporting your network.

Traditional WAN is Broken

There is one legacy part of IT that has struggled to evolve to support the agility and flexibility companies require: the enterprise wide-area network (WAN). Traditional WAN architecture has been in place for many decades and is lacking the features organizations need in the digital transformation era. Innovation and business transformation drive the need for a more agile WAN:

  • The cloud. The cloud is quickly growing in the enterprise because an increasing number of mission-critical applications and workloads are moving to a more flexible model. However, the surge in cloud traffic is dramatically changing network traffic patterns over the WAN.
  • Unified Communications. With the rise of virtual teams and remote workers, UCaaS has become a business staple. Having direct access to whom you need, when you need, through applications for voice, video and instant messaging skyrockets bandwidth requirements.
  • Computing is network centric. Businesses are relying on mobile computing, applications, connected devices, and the cloud to ensure efficient production of goods and services. These digital initiatives are all dependent on high-availability and quality network outputs.

These business trends and technology advancements are putting new demands on the traditional WAN environment. Their costly builds and inefficient bandwidth usage are causing organizations to hit barriers in delivering Quality of Service to their employees.

  • Expensive bandwidth. Private and MPLS circuits inhibit new branch deployments and performance of applications because of the expensive cost associated, and length of deployment in many cases. Therefore, many organizations have limited bandwidth contracts to minimize cost. In addition, it is complex to deploy and manage redundancy in a network with private links and MPLS circuits.
  • Datacenter dependent. Traditional WAN architectures are dependent on the datacenter to supply traffic routing. Branch offices commonly won’t have direct access to cloud resources through the legacy hub and spoke network design. Traffic must be backhauled through the datacenter to the branch causing jitter, latency and other performance degradations.
  • Unpredictable application performance. As businesses rely on cloud applications for critical workloads for employees that are on the move, remote, or at the branch, traditional WANs struggle to keep up with performance quality. In addition, remote workers need secure access to the cloud to get their jobs completed.
  • Complex infrastructure. Complex WAN architectures that are made up of single-function devices and applications are causing complex management issues for IT teams. Instead of working on revenue generating projects, IT teams are stuck managing network issues day-in and day-out.

Why SD-WAN is Better

SD-WAN is a cloud-based approach that simplifies multi-site networking and assures optimal application performance. Unlike traditional WANs, SD-WAN is built from Software-Defined Networking (SDN) principles that create a network overlay to separate network software services from underlying hardware. The software centric approach to the WAN is capable of being delivered on virtually any existing router and server platform for better network agility and cost reduction.

  • Virtual WAN. SD-WAN utilizes multiple inexpensive links to create a unified pool of bandwidth to deliver traffic over. Links are automatically detected, and bandwidth is measured, monitored in real-time and used to optimize traffic steering for enterprise-grade performance.
  • Cloud-optimized. Cloud-based networks provide solutions to the unpredictable and distributed enterprise that strains traditional WANs. Optimal performance is assured when traffic is going to cloud applications with comprehensive monitoring and visibility across multiple links and providers.
  • Simplified branch services. Branches can be rolled out quicker with low-touch deployment, simplified configuration, orchestration and on-going monitoring and troubleshooting. Utilize available branch connectivity to deploy SD-WAN from the central orchestrator and steer traffic over an auto-established VPN tunnel to the gateway at your datacenter or cloud to ensure low cost deployments and maintenance.
  • OpEx Model. SD-WAN can reduce CapEx requirements of traditional large networks by deploying a software-as-a-service model. No additional asset investment is required, moving your expense model to an OpEx monthly charge that allows you to reallocate capital budget.

SD-WAN evolves the traditional WAN into a software-based solution that creates a more agile network to support the demands of the cloud and workload-bearing applications. To learn more about SD-WAN, contact our experts today.