It seems like everyone is talking about SD-WAN. The promise to improve security and simplify network operations while reducing cost sounds like a dream come true to enterprise architects. So why is there hesitation from network engineers? Looking at the core of SD-WAN from a ten-thousand-foot view you can see that all vendors focus on two key components: dynamic routing, and VPN.

Let’s be honest, Dynamic routing and VPN solutions have been around for a long time. A good example of this would be OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) which was standardized in 1989 as RFC 1131. Prior to that, you had distant-vector routing protocols being implemented as early as 1969.

VPN (Virtual Private Networks) have been around since 1996. starting with PPTP (Peer to Peer Tunneling Protocol) Developed by a Microsoft employee named Gurdeep Singhpall. Much has changed since the initial creation of VPN and dynamic routing and most companies have already adopted these solutions. Given the long history and wide implementation of dynamic routing and VPN, we can see why some network engineers would be hesitant to recommend SD-WAN. Or In other words why change the existing design if the current one is working?

Traditional vs. SD-WAN Architectures

Unlike traditional routing and VPN, most SD-WAN architectures come with rich end-to-end visibility and analytics, including alerting and reporting out-of-the-box. This greatly simplifies the adoption and management of private and public WAN (Wide Area Network) circuits. To better understand this let’s explore the typical deployment model seen today in enterprise networks.

Your typical network today would contain a monitoring solution, multiple VPN solutions, and if you’re lucky, one dynamic routing protocol. What companies end up with is multiple technologies, which create complexity and require ongoing support, and training. SD-WAN simplifies the landscape by collapsing VPN, dynamic routing, and monitoring into a single pane of glass. This is where you see the WAN take an evolutionary step forward. Successful implementations have shown less operational overhead (less time spent upgrading equipment) and improved uptime (Less complexity = reduced human error).

Another benefit that comes with this evolution is choice. Because SD-WAN combines VPN with dynamic routing you can use any form of WAN transport, meaning you can connect your enterprise with a mix of private and public networks. This approach reduces complexity and has the potential to cut down your monthly service fee by reducing or eliminating private wan circuits.

Going back to the initial question posed by network engineers, why change existing functional architecture with an SDWAN solution?

The answer: SD-WAN provides a level of standardization, monitoring, and simplification that none of the traditional solutions can provide on their own.

Still on the fence about SD-WAN? Learn more about it here.  Network best practices change and evolve constantly. It takes the help of industry experts to keep up with the latest trends and determine the best path for your organization. Our team of networking professionals have the experience needed to guide you in the right direction. Call us today to find out how you can reduce network complexity and optimize your network for the future.