“SD-WAN is a critical piece within enterprise network transformation,” says Reece Hayden, an analyst focusing on enterprise connectivity and digital transformation for ABI Research. “It creates clear business and operational value. I expect that within five years, 99 percent of enterprises across verticals will have deployed or be in the process of deploying an SD-WAN solution.”
That’s because SD-WAN allows companies to operate networks that skip physical data centers. Instead, users connect directly to the cloud, with better network security, faster data flows and less reliance on traditional multiprotocol label-switching (MPLS) technology, which has been the dominant transport protocol for the past two decades.
The benefits, says Hayden, include a reduction in management and network costs; operational improvements such as network reliability, control and visibility; and zero-touch provisioning. SD-WAN features and capabilities differ among vendors, making the right solution for each company a matter of finding the right fit for specific business needs.
How to Reduce Network Complexity With SD-WAN
An important aspect of CloudGenix that sold Castellanos was the straightforward deployment, which is important for a network of AutoNation’s size.
“Our network is deceivingly complex, but we didn’t have to make any large-scale changes to our topology,” he says. “We dropped in the equipment, turned it on and tweaked it. It could handle everything we were throwing at it.”
AutoNation’s networking team deployed the SD-WAN solution to approximately 20 sites per week, completing 100 sites in 2020 and the remaining 200-plus sites in 2021.
CloudGenix also met important objectives of the network management team: visibility and the ability to make changes at scale. Now, they have single-pane management, and the network team can easily deploy an update to a single store or the entire company. The visibility tools enable the team to monitor critical architecture and see details of packets going out and coming in.