Curious about SD-WAN? Here is Your Introduction

Turnium will be providing a 5-part blog series on SD-WAN and how businesses who need to manage data and communications through Wide-Area Networks (WAN) can achieve significant benefits by introducing SD-WAN technology. We welcome your comments and hope you will share them with us in the comment section below.

What is a Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN)?

Businesses who want to maximize their profitability are finding that keeping up with technology is critical to their success. This is an absolute necessity for those businesses who rely upon Wide-Area Networks (WAN) for an exchange of information across their organization. Typical WANs are used to connect enterprise networks over large geographical distances using broadband internet, 4G, LTE, or MPLS.

The problem is that traditional WAN is deployed by incumbent telecom carriers who have processes, people and technology that were designed for a different era and cannot adapt to customers’ current requirements for flexible solutions that are simple to deploy, use cost-effective networking technologies and support flexible designs. Today’s customers need fast rollout to new sites or new cloud providers while optimizing cost, performance, and reliability. And, today’s networks need to provide customers and wholesale service providers with end-to-end visibility instead of the “black box” service that telecoms deliver.

The SD (software defined) is a specific application of cutting edge software-defined networking (SDN) technology applied to WAN connections. It is designed to fully support applications hosted in on-premise data centers, cloud applications, and SaaS solutions.

SD-WAN offers organizations with diverse locations the ability to leverage Internet bandwidth economics and achieve cost savings, flexibility, and enhanced security. It can manage multiple types of connections – from MPLS to broadband to LTE.

How does an SD-WAN work?

An SD-WAN uses centralized control software to direct and optimize traffic across the WAN. An SD-WAN handles traffic based on priority, quality of service, and security requirements in accordance with business needs.

The power of the SD-WAN is that it will measure the quality of all connections for a specified data path and route traffic across the most optimized path. It does this by continuously measuring one-way packet loss, latency, jitter and available bandwidth on each path. It can react in microsecond intervals to change performance characteristics so data flows through the best path.

What are the benefits of an SD-WAN?

In 2018, Gartner commissioned a study called “Technology Insight for SD-WAN” (Gartner). In that report, Gartner found that the business benefits of SD-WAN went well beyond that optimization of service expenses. Among the chief benefits reported by users were “impact on improving availability, lowering operations costs, increasing application performance and reducing enterprise risk when upgrading network infrastructure.”

Our clients have reported the following benefits when they introduced our white labeled SD-WAN solution:

  1. Reduced Costs
  2. Improved Provisioning Times
  3. Enhanced Branch Uptime
  4. Stronger Security
  5. Greater Control & Flexibility

Gartner has estimated that SD-WAN has less than 5% market share today, but it predicts that up to 25% of users will manage their WAN through software within two years. Revenue from SD-WAN vendors is growing at 59% annually, Gartner estimates, and it’s expected to become a $1.3 billion market by 2020.

The future of SD-WAN is strong. A study by Futuriom in 2018 found that “Growth in the SD-WAN market is now accelerating. SD-WAN technology is receiving broad market acceptance as enterprises see direct return-on-investment in implementing cloud-managed WAN.” (Futuriom)

Futuriom expects the market for SD-WAN tools and network-as-a-service (NaaS) revenue (non-legacy service provider) to reach $1.5 billion by 2019 and $2.5 billion by 2021.

SD-WAN technology allows businesses to make their network more efficient and dynamic when it comes to consuming network resources. It is ideal for businesses that have multiple locations and heavy traffic.