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Traditional WAN can’t support the needs of today’s business world – SD-WAN is the next step in the evolution of business technology.

Connectivity and uptime are vital to a business’ productivity, profitability, and quality of service. Without a strong Internet connection, so many of the tools a business relies on every day will lag and waste company time. VoIP-based phone calls to important business contacts will cut in and out, time-sensitive emails will sit in the outbox waiting for the connection before they can send, and worse.

These are just some of the issues with traditional WAN – insufficient bandwidth and high-cost bandwidth severely limits the capabilities it can offer businesses. That’s not to mention the fragmented security, limited app awareness, and lack of compatibility with new cloud platforms and solutions.

Whether it’s the growing number of users that are dependent on the networks, the ever-evolving types of technologies and applications needed to be used throughout the network, or the almost-daily rate of new security threats, traditional WAN is not prepared to deal with the modern world of business technology. Ten or more years ago, it wasn’t that big a deal to undergo some planned downtime to fix an issue here or there. Today, businesses need constant uptime to keep getting work done, regardless of the forces at play.

So what’s the answer? SD-WAN, which is the approach to building and designing a WAN that utilizes SDN techniques to optimize and automate — as well as protect — traffic between diverse locations.

How Does It Work?

Using a cloud-based controller, an overlay network is created in order to build encrypted tunnels, define applications, determine where sites are, and more. This portal/controller is the critical lynchpin, as it’s where you manage and operate the WAN from.

Sounds good, but is it viable? According to Gartner in their 2016 report, they predicted that 30% of enterprises will have deployed SD-WAN technology by the end of 2019.

What benefits does it offer?

  • Increased bandwidth
  • Reduced cost for circuits
  • Simple WAN management
  • Improved user experience on applications
  • Flexible security, whether that’s every single branch or just in specific “chokepoint” locations

SD-WAN – Simple Architecture

While there are more complicated setups, most SD-WAN architecture is arranged as such with each plane tying down to affect the one below it in order:

  • Orchestration Plane: While not present in every solution or necessary for every business, this plane allows businesses to automate certain functions.
  • Management Plane: As the end user of this solution, this plane is where you’ll set up your policies and templates, and handle configurations.
  • Control Plane: This plane substantiates your intent onto the following data plane. 
  • Data Plane: This is the on-premise device at a given location, whether that’s a campus, a branch, etc. Wherever you would put your gear.

Integration With The Cloud

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Whether it’s Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, or another IaaS solution, you can put a virtual node in your VPC, and connect it to your SD-WAN as though it were just another site. Then you would just go to your cloud portal on the Management Plane, and configure your policies as need be.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

This is even simpler to integrate with SD-WAN, which is why it’s the key area of adoption right now. Extremely popular solutions like Microsoft Office 365 are easy to set up with SD-WAN, and it’s highly recommended to support tasks like Skype calling.

Essentially, you just set up a secure session, and it leaves the SD-WAN location at the data plane directly, and from there goes out to the subpart of the Internet where the SaaS provider is, and makes a secure connection over there – no need to set up tunnels. The key benefit? Your security policy can be pushed all the way down to the branch.

How To Evaluate A Prospective SD-WAN Solution

When determining how well a given SD-WAN solution will serve your business, be sure to get the answers to these questions:

  • What kind of topology and segmentation do you support?
  • Does your solution integrate with my business’ current IaaS/SaaS platform?
  • Do you offer Routing Protocol support for the migration process?
  • What applications can you detect right from the start? What’s the process when you don’t detect a given custom app that my business and users rely on?
  • Do you have the ability to add geographic chokepoints, say, for Internet service?
  • Do you have strong Transport Independence?
  • How does your Management Plane operate? Is it simple, flexible, streamlined? (If needed) Do you have Orchestration support?
  • How do you handle key management between endpoints?

Not sure where to begin? Allow us to help.

LA Networks offers SD-Wan and redundant network solutions. By configuring redundant backup connections, we ensure that no calls drop, bandwidth and latency perform at optimal rates, and your business keeps moving at the pace you need it to.

LA Networks will assess your company’s current connectivity and related business needs, research the options best suited to you, and then help you make the right choice.

What are you waiting for? Contact LA Networks right away at (818) 333-4880 or info@la-networks.com to stop losing money every minute due to downtime, dropped calls, and worse. For more information, be sure to watch the full webinar on this topic, posted above.