Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Up to 90 % lower costs, far greater flexibility than before and greater security: companies can no longer avoid an SD-WAN infrastructure today.
Rarely are analysts so unanimous: "The future of WAN is software-defined", report the market researchers from Forrester Research. And the colleagues from Gartner warn: "Those who do not rely on SD-WAN will give internal and external customers an expensive, suboptimal user experience." Even if Cloud or Big Data dominate the news from the IT world - hardly any other topic is currently driving companies as much as Software-Defined Wide Area Network.
One management, all connections
Internationally active and widely branched companies in particular want to introduce cloud-based business applications, but are reaching their limits with the old WAN infrastructures and traditional traffic management. This is where Software Defined Wide Area Network comes in. It helps to build, manage and optimise a wide area network that flexibly adapts to the application. An SD-WAN integrates various network transport technologies into a WAN and places a virtual layer on top for management. SD-WANs measure transport quality via latency and packet loss and route traffic over the most appropriate network transport connection to suit the application. SD-WANs, delivered as a service, provide the benefits of traditional VPN services while enabling secure, direct internet access and seamless extension of the WAN to cloud services.
Flexibility is the trump card
The greatest strength of SD-WAN is its flexibility: in future, data traffic will be routed via the most efficient connection in each case, the application automatically balances available network resources and uses the connection with the most suitable properties in each case. If disruptions occur, the software finds the next best connection. Whereas IT departments previously had to deal mainly with hardware such as line types, routers and firewalls, they can now concentrate on the service. A complete management overview and advanced analysis functions support them in finding and solving end-to-end performance problems.
Market is growing rapidly
The market figures prove that SD-WAN is more than just hype: The analysts at IDC expect a phenomenal growth rate of around 70 percent annually. In 2018, ten percent of all companies will already be using this technology; by 2021, it will be more than half, by which time the market volume will be a good eight billion dollars.
One driver is the Internet of Things - the networking of machines, smart homes and vehicles - which is causing data traffic in business applications to swell once again. In addition, the integration of wireless technologies such as WLAN, 4G and soon 5G will advance. "SD-WAN makes network traffic visible and controllable, which fits well with the requirements of IoT applications," says Walter Bichsel, product manager at UPC in Zurich. The provider of connectivity, internet, telephony and TV offers secure and flexible SD-WAN services based on leading technology suppliers.
Service is a top priority
UPC's offer is ideal for companies that value round-the-clock service based on a service level agreement and want to benefit from the ongoing development of SD-WAN services. More and more internet, mobile and cable operators are offering SD-WAN as a Service - value-added services with higher performance and security. These services relieve users from managing the WAN at lower operational costs, especially for international data traffic. There, SD-WAN as a Service can reduce WAN costs by up to 90 percent.