SD-WAN vs. Traditional WAN- Why Companies are Shifting to SD-WAN

Over the past five years there have been significant advancements in increasing the level of agility and flexibility in the data center through software defined networking (SDN). However, one part of IT that has yet to evolve and lacks flexibility is the enterprise wide-area network (WAN). Evolving the WAN must be at the top of every IT and business leader’s priority list because organizations can only be as agile as their least agile IT component—which, today, is the WAN. If businesses are going to ever reach the level of agility required to compete in today’s digital world, now is the time for the WAN to evolve into a Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN).

There used to be two dominant WAN implementation choices that network administrators had for WAN connectivity to remote sites. You either leased WAN connections such as Metro Ethernet or MPLS, or you built site-to-site VPN tunnels over the Internet. While both options did, and still do work, there is plenty of room for improvement. Challenges with the legacy Wide-Area Network include:

  • Poor use of network bandwidth.
  • Inefficient network design.
  • High cost of bandwidth.
  • Difficulty in optimizing the user experience.
  • Security and performance are overlay technologies; overlay approach, which is built on multiple appliances, can increase the complexity of WAN.
  • Most configuration changes need to be done on a box-by-box or even port-by-port basis, meaning modifications to large networks can often take months to complete.

Network agility is no longer something companies can simply aspire to have in the future—it is business critical today. Organizations must shed their traditional thinking regarding network design and deploy a network that offers the same level of agility as exists at the compute and application tiers. To accomplish this, a new, agile WAN architecture is required.