Public-cloud providers have grown in popularity over the past decade, and enterprise adoption of cloud services and infrastructure has exploded. According to the 2017 Rightscale Survey, a remarkable 85 percent of organizations have a strategy for using multiple clouds. These enterprises have been focused on digital transformation for the past five years and are generally feeling enthusiastic about where they are.
However, it might not be time to pop the champagne just yet. Many of those with cutting-edge cloud computing strategies have networks that are stuck back in the early 2000s, which means they won’t be able to unlock the superior speed and performance promised by the cloud. Gartner expects that 50 percent of cloud deployments will suffer from business-impacting performance issues, requiring extensive network redesign.
As enterprise networks become more complex and unpredictable — stemming from increased mobility, cloud technology, the proliferation of applications and multiple app delivery models — IT departments struggle to react. To keep up, IT needs to fundamentally rethink its approach to networking.
Software-defined wide area networking has emerged as the key to the future of the enterprise network while enabling companies to take advantage of what the cloud has to offer. Unlike traditional WAN technologies, SD-WAN decouples the network and the control plane and utilizes a software-defined approach, making it easier to adapt to the changing demands of application delivery and user productivity.
While SD-WAN technologies are relatively new, they are being adopted at a breakneck pace, with IDC forecasting that the SD-WAN market will grow to $6 billion by 2020. The technology offers multiple advantages to the enterprise:
Once you understand the benefits an SD-WAN solution can bring to the enterprise, how do you go about actually selecting one from the growing vendor landscape?
When assessing SD-WANs, it’s important to weigh individual features and benefits against the broader capabilities that the offering must deliver to fulfill the promise of reduced complexity and better speed and performance.
Those broader capabilities can be categorized as central management, global orchestration and remote deployment.
That integrated management platform must be able to unify multiple network elements — hybrid WANs, cloud, data center and branch wired and wireless LANs — with a single policy framework. You should also be able to automate as many tasks as possible, including the creation of secure and encrypted virtual private networks, and enforce performance and security controls based on policies that you have defined in the central management console.
This means that you should be able to deploy remotely, via automated activation, all required secure WAN gateways, LAN switches, Wi-Fi access points, security services and native firewalls. And, instant extension of your connectivity fabric to the cloud networks also should be possible..
SD-WAN technology will offer ever more benefits as it evolves. As you embrace the cloud, it is imperative that you rethink your approach to networking to align it to the cloud era.
Device-centric and command line-driven networking approaches defeat the advantages of the cloud.
SD-WAN not only will increase your business agility and performance but also will do so at a reduced cost. And an ideal SD-WAN solution will help you to unlock the power and agility of the cloud.
Welcome to the cloud era. Make SD-WAN your friend.