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Four Benefits of SD-WAN Outside of Costs

Written by Kevin Van Mondfrans

The traditional way of delivering service to customers and connectivity for businesses continues to fundamentally shift due to cloud technology and a focus centered on improvement. With today's society immersed in immediate access to information, operational disruptions are felt more than ever before, especially from an employee productivity and revenue perspective.

Traditionally, backhauling traffic through a datacenter allows an office to access the internet, external resources, data and apps. However, this model often creates hair pinning and pinch points as well as an overall complicated and expensive process. With the emergence of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), this can all be avoided.

The cloud offers greater accessibility of applications, which is driving change and leading businesses to evolve their underlying infrastructure to allow for dynamic capabilities. The traditional gateways, firewalls or other security tools may not be designed for hybrid architectures, especially fully-virtualized environments. However, SD-WAN packed with modern security services offers flexibility and the opportunity to meet goals while staying secure against the modern threat landscape.

SD-WAN has quickly established itself as a more agile version of WAN, but also offers benefits that create cost savings and value for an entire business. Here are just a few of them:

1.     More efficient management

SD-WAN has emerged as a viable option to ensure easy management with any business scale given the number of deployments, geographical locations, variables and sites within each location.

Historically, directing traffic would have to be handled manually through each router. SD-WAN allows for centralized automation to configure networks and direct traffic without the need to handle specific hardware. SD-WAN also reduces the complexity at the "WAN edge," by consolidating multiple devices, such as firewalls and routers, to operate as a single, software-enabled device. Consolidation of devices improves maintenance and troubleshooting while enabling IT staff productivity.

All priorities at a business must be reflected in the way a network operates. For example, if a team desires self-management of SD-WAN, or even to utilize a third party, the increased agility SD-WAN creates allows IT departments to better execute on market demands as they appear. Many providers of SD-WAN also offer aggregated analytics to provide insights into the SD-WAN functionality.

2.     Improved deployment speed

SD-WAN has the ability to make deployments more reliable, and easier to create and manage, by using virtualization and overlays to deliver the best possible pathways for traffic. When deployments are managed utilizing SD-WAN they come online faster and with fewer issues. Then when issues do happen to occur, IT staff can utilize the software-enabled features of SD-WAN to quickly update systems and correct problems.

All in all, the ability to deploy and manage connections from a single point creates faster problem solving when errors do occur. This agility offered by SD-WAN provides better insights into vulnerabilities and reduced downtime, creating a more resilient future.

3.     Automation for self-driving capabilities

SD-WAN used in conjunction with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities can help to easily translate goals into actions. By focusing on automation, SD-WAN can become self-driving. Much like other self-driving technologies, IT departments must continually optimize policies based on data and analytics outputs. However, the data produced by self-driving WAN is not only for reactive support of the system, but also enables better proactive decision-making.

4.     Greater business agility

While SD-WAN creates easier management and increased simplicity, it's important that IT teams still pay attention to system security and maintenance. No matter how advanced a system becomes, there will always be a human element to ensuring success. Business expectations should grow simultaneously with innovation and SD-WAN is no exception.

IT staff may take on some additional responsibility when managing SD-WAN, but this presents the opportunity to step up and function as a business enabler. IT personnel must be ready to troubleshoot and fine-tune policies in order to account for the massive amounts of data coming through within modern businesses.

While SD-WAN is the first significant change to WAN technology in the past 20 years, it's important to note this change requires rethinking the WAN edge. Thoughtful design of SD-WAN can lead to a reduction in cost, greater business agility, efficient management and increased speed of deployment, all of which helps organizations keep up with the speed of change in today's modern landscape.

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About the Author

As Senior Director of Product Management, Kevin Van Mondfrans leads product and business planning for InterVision's portfolio of managed IT services, managed security services, and collaboration services. Kevin has over 15 years of experience leading product management for core data center technologies as well as 11 years of senior leadership within the managed service provider market.

Published Thursday, April 18, 2019 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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