28 October 2019
SD-WAN Paves the Way for SD-branch
Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is technology for configuring and implementing an enterprise WAN – based on software-defined networking (SDN) – to effectively route traffic to remote locations such as branch offices.
As SD-WAN matures, enterprises are moving away from traditional branch routers to offer consolidated network functionality on a single device. The reason is organizations are migrating toward integrated SD-WAN alternatives, with bandwidth prioritization and centralized management capabilities for remote WAN sites.
Hardware improvements have also enabled software-based routing driving better performance of standard server platforms. Software-based routing provides advantages in terms of its flexibility, as it can be implemented anywhere and combined with other WAN functions for a complete package.
SD-WAN services have matured significantly over the last few years with suppliers now offering a broad range of network functionality integrated in their SD-WAN devices, including WAN optimization, routing and basic security. But the branch network of the future will have most of the following requirements, regardless of whether they take the form of an appliance or software:
- Secure WAN communications
- Zero-touch deployment
- Remote manageability
- Elastic scale-up and scale-down capacity
- Integration with SD-WAN, security, LAN and WiFi
As many industries and organizations investigate and phase-out their existing branch routers in favor of SD-WAN packages, some will keep their installed routers for existing MPLS connections as part of a multiyear contract.
Options for enterprises when it comes to branch routers will now include keeping their traditional branch routers, phasing out their brand routers with SD-WAN technology or plan migration to a software-defined branch.
As SD-WAN paves the way for the SD-branch, application security and performance at the branch must be reliable and fast, with low latency. And, IT teams are rearchitecting their branch networks to deliver on application performance expectations and data security. So, as SD-WAN gains steam, it will be important to offer SD-WAN organizations a full-scale security management solution that allows operations to more easily roll out security services while also easing the management of monitoring, metrics, analytics and visibility of their network traffic.