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Six Things You Didn't Know About SD-WAN

SDWAN 

Article Written by Donna Johnson 

Branch offices have typically been a pain point for IT in terms of network quality, management and expense, but new software-defined architectures are providing cost-effective options that do not compromise on quality of application delivery and accessibility. With increasing demands on the network, SD-WAN is catching the eyes of many network managers as a technology that offers a way to simplify and improve application delivery to the branch office. In fact, according to a recent Forrester survey, 60 percent of IT-decision makers are looking to implement or expand their SD-WAN in the next 12 months.

As a solution that does more than connect enterprise branch offices, it's essential to consider the additional benefits of SD-WAN. These add-on functions correlate directly with business need to extend far beyond network capabilities and enhance systems across the enterprise, allowing IT managers to get the most out of their investment. With that, here are 6 ways SD-WAN improves overall IT functions while simultaneously reducing overall network complexity.

  • It includes WAN optimization: SD-WAN is not replacing WAN optimization. It is keeping the key connectivity functions of WAN optimization while condensing the overall architecture. By reducing the number of physical appliances needed for these connections, IT departments are able to save time and resources once spent on managing multiple pieces of hardware.
  • It makes use of wireless as a WAN link: Every IT manager has a horror story about a network outage. With the ability to leverage wireless - like 4G and Satellite - in addition to MPLS and internet connections, SD-WAN aggregates bandwidth to any application. With a truly logical bonded connection, SD-WAN increases network resiliency with a full stack of backup options should one connection fail.
  • It improves the organization's security posture: As the importance of security spreads to all corners of the enterprise, SD-WAN ensures consistent policy enforcement for internet-bound traffic through cloud firewalls. This technology also enables network segmentation, allowing the enterprise to increase security controls on specific networks.
  • It can replace the legacy router: Today's branch networks are built on routers that are complex to manage, which can be problematic when looking to implement a network-wide change. With full built-in routing capabilities, SD-WAN consolidates hardware and lowers management overhead when replacing routers or an alternative to a dedicated router when spinning up new branch networks.
  • It provides a foundation for virtualization: As the applications users depend on to complete their daily tasks are increasingly centralized and delivered via virtualization, SD-WAN is an essential technology to ensure high quality application delivery, a consistent user experience and no down time. Organizations moving to virtualized application delivery will find SD-WAN an essential tool for expanding virtualized application to branches.
  • It can help with cloud applications: As businesses continue to migrate to the cloud, application delivery is no longer isolated to and from the datacenter. SD-WAN allows branch users to consume applications from the cloud in a more seamless and secure manner.

As the enterprise technology landscape gets more cluttered with users, devices and applications, the true role of IT departments is to eliminate any friction in the interactions of these entities. In taking a broader approach to understand how SD-WAN can move beyond solving one problem to improving overall IT functions, IT departments are not only removing complexity, they're clearly driving business goals. 

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About the Author

Donna Johnson is currently Director of Product Marketing for NetScaler SD-WAN at Citrix. Throughout her career, Donna has worked with network management and network infrastructure products, holding positions of engineering management, product management and product marketing at companies such as Objective Systems Integrators and Dorado Software. Most recently, she was Director of Products with Talari Networks where she helped define the emerging category of software defined WANs. Donna graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Electrical Engineering.  

Published Monday, January 09, 2017 8:02 AM by David Marshall
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