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The Current and Future State of SDWAN: Part 1 of 2

Greg Stemberger, Director, Enterprise Networking, Iron Bow Technologies

August 25, 2020  |  IT Modernization  •  Networking

It’s no secret cloud technology is becoming more common. Everything from the photos on your smartphone to the information in your organization’s database is being moved to the cloud — and with good reason. Cloud solutions implemented correctly can significantly reduce upfront costs, increase productivity and simplify the burden of IT management. Your network is no different.

Before we jump into specifics, let’s define our network vocabulary. Michael Golomb defines networks as complicated interconnected systems through which computers communicate with each other. A network infrastructure could be a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN). While a LAN may serve a building or campus at a single location, a WAN is a network that extends across long distances — even to the other side of the world. Traditional networks are composed of dedicated equipment, such as switches, routers and firewalls that are typically managed independently of each other.  Now they are managed much more collectively as a system via more intelligent software layer abstracting the specifics of the underlying hardware.

A software-defined architecture is a shift from relying on hardware as the workhorse of IT systems. Software-defined networking (SDN), which originated in the data center, has now extended into the campus with software-defined LAN (SDLAN) and into the cloud with SDWAN.

SDWAN is the application of SDN principles applied to the WAN network. By SDN principles, I mean adding different levels of software intelligence to improve the operational behavior of the network. It gives you a global view of the best path or quickest route from point A to point B for your data on the network and allows you to look at the network holistically, which presents opportunities for your organization to become more efficient and streamlined.

So, what are the benefits of using SDWAN technology, where is this technology going, and how does it affect you? This is the first half of a two-part series on SDWAN: a high level overview of our current state.

1. Current state of SDWAN

Currently, SDWAN allows organizations the opportunity to optimize and secure their cloud services. Silver Peak explains that it increases application performance and delivers a high quality user experience, resulting in increased business productivity, agility and reduced costs for IT. According to Cisco, SDWAN currently offers:

  • Better application performance with high availability, the choice of either replacing or layering with Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and increased agility via efficient delivery and dynamically routed application traffic.
  • More security by having end-to-end segmentation control, secure traffic between internet and cloud and distributed security across all remote end points.
  • Optimized cloud connectivity by using a multi-cloud approach with high performance for integrated technology and efficient workflows for cloud platforms.
  • Simplified management from the centralized dashboard that provides detailed performance reporting and analytics.

In addition to the benefits that SDWAN brings to the office, these benefits can also be realized in a remote setting. With remote office work becoming the new normal (especially since COVID-19), SDWAN’s value has become even more important for continuity of operations. It is essential that organizations have secure, reliable connectivity so data can flow across the network as efficiently as possible in order to keep up the workload and meet business goals.

Stay tuned next week for the second half of this two-part series to learn about the future state of SDWAN and how to make the most of where it’s going. In the meantime, more information about networking can be found by clicking here.

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