While enabling digital and cloud transformation for networks of all sizes, SD-WAN also offers organisations a new way to deploy, manage, and operate their WAN infrastructure. It is beneficial to enterprise customers who demand more flexible, open, and cloud-based WAN technologies, rather than installing proprietary or specialized WAN technology that often involves expensive, fixed circuits, or proprietary hardware.
A number of Software-Defined WAN offerings can be used to improve and secure internet connectivity, making it more competitive with more expensive legacy WAN technologies Managed Service Providers (MPLS).
George Prinsloo, Regional Sales Manager – Networking, Citrix Systems South Africa said, “Software Defined WAN networking is fundamentally changing the way that Wide Area Networking has been done over the last fifteen and twenty years. It is as disruptive a technology like a cloud and digital transformation. It changes the way businesses take care of their IT, consume applications and provide services to the customers and consumers. SD-WAN is a new way of looking at things and it is incredibly disruptive in the networking space.
Benefits of SD-WAN
The advantages of Software-defined WAN are vast, it is positioned to make a difference in the wide-area space because of its simplicity and ease of use. Apart from offering an overlay of security, it also provides more broadband connections, which are less expensive to carriers in many geographic markets. SD-WAN can be helpful for remote and home offices where broadband services are available.
Speaking about the benefits of SD-WAN, Prinsloo said, “In the South African economy, the three main benefits for organisations would be 1) cost reduction, running a network is very expensive because of the lack of choice that is available to businesses. 2) networking reliability and uptime is also crucial because if you can’t keep your lights on operationally, it costs you money and influences productivity. 3) Businesses agility, especially with cloud adoption and the digital transformation journey. You need to be able to make decisions and implement those decisions very quickly and from a traditional networking standpoint that wasn’t always possible for organisations,”
Getting the right SD-WAN vendor
Prinsloo stated that an SD-WAN vendor of choice should be cloud-ready, he said it should be an enabler for an enterprise to move the business to a hybrid cloud model. “Citrix has partnerships with hyperscalers and we have virtual WAN partnerships with all these cloud providers to ensure that we can optimize a secure traffic from a branch location straight into the cloud,” he said.
“Your cloud and cloud affiliation and partnerships that your SD-WAN vendor has is crucial. The security, make sure you understand how your vendor addresses the security concerns through traffic encapsulation, Ask questions such as is you SD-WAN vendor a fully fledged firewall and how does it address and encapsulates your traffic. How easy is it to procure your vendor and can it offer multiple commercial models. Lastly, they need to know if the SD-WAN vendor is a complete WAN edge solution. Can the SD-WAN appliance or vendor be a router in the branch, be a firewall in the branch as well as cater for all of the SD-WAN networking functionalities,” concluded Prinsloo.