More critically, it has addressed most, if not all of the security and reliability concerns that plague plain vanilla broadband internet.
From a security standpoint, it protects data with high-performance edge-to-edge IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) encryption, NAT (network address translation) and firewalling capabilities, integration with standards-based security software, and the ability to use virtual private networks that enforce strict micro segmentation of traffic across the WAN, all in alignment with business intent.
In addition, SD-WAN solutions also address reliability concerns with new functionality that automatically routes traffic to multiple internet links from different providers to assure business-critical application availability.
MPLS was not architected for today's cloud requirements. As applications migrate to the cloud, connecting to them over broadband and internet transport with SDN-WAN solutions is more efficient and economical. It also enables IT organizations to effectively blend MPLS private links with broadband and internet connectivity.
Considerations for Rapid Deployment
Still, as with any technology, adoption and implementation is often not straightforward, and organisations often take a wait and see approach with the most common reasons being the possible risk of failure of technology to deliver anticipated benefits or that the benefits will only be marginal, or there are already investments in a legacy system in place that is difficult to displace. Let's consider these in turn:
- Failure to deliver benefits. While still in its nascent stages, some 27 percent of companies have already implemented SD-WAN across their organisations and have experienced performance benefits and better control in their networks, according to a recent survey report by IDG Connect.
- Improvements are only marginal or incremental. The costs savings - up to 90 percent in broadband costs - are so compelling that research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that by 2019, 30 percent of enterprises will deploy SD-WAN technology in their branches and software-as-a-service (SaaS), a cloud-based architecture, will be the dominant model for consuming applications with 80 percent of all companies using it by 2018.
- Legacy investments. The flexibility of SD-WAN to integrate with existing infrastructure for a hybrid setup makes implementation compelling, particularly for growth-oriented organisations. Organisations also have the freedom to push only the most time-sensitive data like video streams through a private circuit while benefitting from using the internet for all other applications.
Yet, more than just overcoming these perceived barriers to entry, or enjoying cost savings and performance benefits, the real benefit, as briefly mentioned earlier, is the speed and flexibility of implementation. Using SD-WAN over a public network is significantly less complex, and enables businesses to get up and running much more quickly.
ZK Research found that, on average, it takes months for businesses to make even a simple network change on MPLS with complex changes even longer to implement. Compare that with broadband connections which are typically up in days, or even hours.
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