Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is an application of the technology called software-defined networking (SDN). SD-WAN is applied to WAN circuits that connect enterprise branch offices to data centers, and cloud/SaaS services. By abstracting network hardware and circuit characteristics from the applications that use the network, SD-WAN simplifies network control and management, while assuring optimal application performance. SD-WAN enables network agility and reduced costs through policy-enabled workflow automation, and provides a complete view of the network within a single screen, via a centrally managed controller.
A Transformed Network
SD-WAN allows organizations to create reliable, higher-performing WANs by combining multiple lower-cost circuits, that either partially or completely replace expensive and rigid private WAN circuits, like MPLS. Hybrid, (MPLS, plus another circuit, like broadband Internet, DIA, LTE, etc.) or all-Internet connectivity is enabled to increase reliability and lower costs.
SD-WAN software abstraction uses a centrally managed network overlay, and decouples network services from the network infrastructure underlay comprised of diverse hardware devices. SD-WAN can replace traditional branch routers, with virtual or physical appliances that control application-level policies through the network overlay.
Simplified Branch Office Connectivity
Branch offices are quickly and easily provisioned with automated zero-touch deployment. Configuration, orchestration and on-going monitoring and troubleshooting are accomplished centrally. SD-WAN enables branch edge connectivity with network services insertion to enable efficient access to multiple cloud, SaaS, and corporate data centers. Branch edge deployment options include, a virtual-machine on a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) device, a virtual machine on an existing x86-based router, or a purpose-built Edge device.
Reduce branch complexity by eliminating multiple single-function network and security devices, and integrating these services within the SD-WAN platform as virtual network functions (VNFs). This reduces device sprawl, and simplifies deployment, monitoring and ongoing management.
WAN Performance and Reliability
A central controller sets the policies and prioritizes traffic. Using these policies across all available bandwidth, traffic is properly routed to ensure each application has the proper performance and bandwidth to meet service level agreements (SLAs).
WAN performance and quality are optimized by automatically steering traffic to the best circuits at any point in time, on a per-packet basis. Performance metrics are continuously measured, and applications are automatically identified, optimized and prioritized, based on business policies and circuit costs. This is all accomplished on a sub-second basis to protect against blackouts and brownouts, while dramatically improving application availability. WAN circuit degradation is remediated using forward error correction, jitter buffering, and synthetic packet production technologies.