Rapid digital transformation is resulting in changes in the workplace, how we interact with customers, and the nature of work. This is creating new challenges for businesses, which must find ways to keep up. One way that companies are meeting these challenges is by implementing SD-WAN technology.
What is SD-WAN and What are its Benefits?
In a nutshell, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a way of managing and deploying wide area networks (WANs) that delivers higher performance, greater flexibility, and lower costs.
Traditional WANs require dedicated hardware (routers, switches, etc.) that are expensive and inflexible. SD-WAN uses commodity hardware and software to provide the same functions at a lower cost with more flexibility. In addition, SD-WAN can be easily deployed and managed using cloud-based tools, further reducing costs.
How SD-WAN Technology Can Help Your Business Keep Up with the Accelerating Pace of Digital Transformation
As digital transformation accelerates, businesses are under pressure to keep up. This is especially true for companies with multiple locations who must now find ways to connect their disparate systems and data.
SD-WAN can help businesses keep up with the pace of digital transformation by providing a more flexible and cost-effective way to connect their disparate systems. In addition, SD-WAN can improve agility by providing a way to deploy new applications and services quickly.
How SD-WAN Can Improve Agility, Security, and Performance for Businesses
In addition to improved flexibility, businesses can also enjoy increased agility, security, and performance with SD-WAN.
SD-WAN can improve performance by intelligently routing traffic over the best available path, whether that be the public internet or a private connection. This results in reduced latency and improved overall performance.
SD-WAN can also improve security by encrypting all traffic between locations. In addition, SD-WAN routers can be configured to provide granular control over which applications and services are allowed to traverse the network. This results in a more secure network that is less vulnerable to attacks.
The Different Types of SD-WAN Solutions Available
There are many different types of SD-WAN solutions available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The three main types include:
Hardware-based SD-WAN is a type of SD-WAN that uses purpose-built hardware appliances to provide all the necessary functions of an SD-WAN. These hardware appliances are typically installed at each customer site and are managed by the SD-WAN supplier.
There are a few key benefits to using hardware-based SD-WAN - one being that it can provide a more stable platform for your applications. This is because all of the heavy lifting is done by dedicated hardware rather than by software that may be subject to change or instability. Hardware-based SD-WAN can also offer better performance since it doesn't have to share resources with other applications. Finally, it can be more secure, since you can physically isolate your SD-WAN traffic from other networks.
Hardware-based SD-WAN also has some potential disadvantages. The most significant is cost: dedicated hardware can be expensive, and it may not be feasible for all organizations. Additionally, hardware-based SD-WAN can be complex to deploy and manage.
Software-based SD-WAN is a type of SD-WAN that uses software to provide all the necessary functions of an SD-WAN. These software applications are typically installed on commodity hardware, such as servers or virtual machines, and are managed by the SD-WAN supplier.
A number of advantages come with employing software-based SD-WAN. First, it can be more cost-effective than hardware-based SD-WAN since you can use commodity hardware. It can be easier to deploy and manage since you don't have to worry about installing and configuring dedicated hardware appliances. It also offers better flexibility and scalability since you can easily add or remove software components as needed.
Of course, there are also some drawbacks to using software-based SD-WAN. The most significant is performance: since software-based SD-WAN shares resources with other applications, it may not be able to offer the same level of performance as hardware-based SD-WAN. Additionally, it can be less secure since it's harder to physically isolate your SD-WAN traffic from other networks.
Hybrid SD-WAN solutions combine the best of both worlds of hardware and software-based SD-WAN. These solutions typically use a mix of purpose-built hardware appliances and commodity servers or virtual machines, all managed by the SD-WAN supplier.
Hybrid SD-WAN offers many of the same benefits as hardware-based SD-WAN, such as stability, performance, and security. Additionally, it can offer the same cost benefits as software-based SD-WAN. Hybrid SD-WAN can be more complex to deploy and manage than either hardware- or software-based SD-WAN, but it may be the best solution for organizations that need the performance of hardware-based SD-WAN with the flexibility and scalability of software-based SD-WAN.
The Cost of Implementing an SD-WAN Solution
The cost of implementing an SD-WAN solution will vary depending on the size and scale of your network. The total cost of ownership (TCO) for a small business can be as low as $2,000. The TCO can be as high as $5 million for an enterprise-level organization.
The most significant factor in determining the cost of an SD-WAN solution is the number of sites that need to be connected. The more sites that need to be connected, the higher the up-front costs will be.
Additionally, the type of WAN connection that you have will also impact the overall cost. If you have a high-speed fiber connection, you'll need to purchase more expensive equipment to take advantage of it.
Conversely, you can use less expensive equipment if you have a slower connection. The bottom line is that the cost of implementing an SD-WAN solution depends on your organization's specific needs.
Many suppliers now offer subscription-based services, making it even easier for businesses to start with SD-WAN. These services typically include a monthly or annual fee that covers the cost of equipment, installation, and support. This can help to reduce the upfront costs of implementing an SD-WAN solution and make it more affordable for businesses of all sizes.
Is Your Business Ready for SD-WAN?
If you're looking for a way to improve your network's performance, security, and agility, then SD-WAN may be the right solution.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Do you have multiple locations that need to be connected? SD-WAN is ideal for businesses with multiple locations, as it can provide a more efficient and cost-effective way to connect them.
- Do you need high-bandwidth connectivity? If your business relies on high-bandwidth applications like VoIP or video conferencing, SD-WAN can provide the reliability and quality of service you need.
- Do you have limited IT resources? Because SD-WAN is delivered as a service, it can be easier to manage than traditional networking solutions. This can be a big advantage for businesses with limited IT resources.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to start thinking about switching to SD-WAN.
Businesses need to find ways to keep up with the accelerating pace of change in the digital age. SD-WAN is one of the most promising technologies for meeting this challenge. SD-WAN can provide increased agility, security, and performance for businesses of all sizes. Additionally, it can be more cost-effective than traditional networking solutions.
If you're considering making the switch to SD-WAN, now is the time.
Interested in learning more about SD-WAN? Review TBI’s additional resources:
Reach out to your TBI Business Development Manager if you have any questions.