What is SD-WAN?
SDN is an abbreviation for “Software-Defined Networking” and describes a network technology that uses software instead of hardware components to configure and run a wide range of network-relevant settings centrally (e.g. via a software portal). This approach is contrasting starkly with past practices where this was done using hardware components.
As a conclusion, an SD-WAN is an abbreviation for “Software-Defined Wide Area Network”, in other words: a WAN that is controlled by means of software.
Today, ever more companies are interested in interconnecting their worldwide sites over an SD-WAN. Why? The increasing use of Cloud services, fundamental changes in user behaviour – such as working from home offices – and growing bandwidth requirements are necessitating revolutionary network topologies, which SD-WANs can offer. See the infographic for more information.
The technological foundation
SD-WANs are operated as a virtual overlay that is situated above the pure network-connection level (the underlay generally being the Internet, Ethernet or MPLS transport technology) and can be programmed using SDN (= Software-Defined Networking).
The key difference to conventional MPLS-based Wide Area Networks is that SD-WANs strictly separate the data plane (which transports the actual data) and control plane (which is responsible for controlling the communication, e.g. routing policies).
SDN offers multiple virtual network functions.
With SDN, software is used to manage routing and network-management information, for instance, or to configure security policies. The centralized software-control mechanisms ensure flexible structures that allow new connections to be added, or existing ones to be altered, with a minimum of effort.
Other network functions, too – such as network monitoring and analytics, WAN acceleration and security functions such as e.g. firewalls – can be realized in the form of software applications, and thereby replace a large number of costly hardware-based functions.
In this way, SDN technology enables flexible network structures that allow the WAN traffic and connections to be optimized in terms of cost, load distribution and data security.
At the same time, network and application quality can be improved by avoiding overloads, and minimizing delays and packet losses.
Cutting costs with Software-Defined Networking
SDN technology will not only give you greater flexibility in deploying and running global networks. It will also help you to cut costs by:
- offering lower connection costs than with MPLS thanks to the use of hybrid network access (Broadband Internet and Ethernet)
- optimising bandwidth usage by the active-active connection configuration of the hybrid network access
- potentially reducing hardware procurement, leasing and maintenance
- reducing staff costs for network operations and
- simplifying configuration changes and troubleshooting.
Optimize your network traffic.
Within the networks, data traffic is optimized using functions such as “Application Aware Routing”, which categorizes data in application classes and preferentially transports business-critical applications.
- Applications with high transmission needs are sent e.g. via Ethernet. These include applications such as video conferencing, telephony and run-time-critical machine data – where milliseconds can be decisive for the smooth, optimised transmission of these data.
- Other applications will send encrypted data over the Internet. These include e.g. e-mails and backup sessions. The transmission characteristics of these applications are less critical.
Combining several transmission technologies and prioritizing the application classes makes it possible to ensure fault-free data flows, high transmission quality and economic efficiency – with the associated high level of customer satisfaction.
To summarize: Leading analysts claim, ngena’s approach is superior to traditional solutions
Compared to classical network technologies like MPLS or Internet VPNs, ngena’s SD-WAN approach offers a wide range of advantages, as it can be deployed in a hybrid mode via the shared infrastructure of the ngena alliance partners. See the infographic for more information
And even compared to a) SD-WAN deployments run in a Do-it-yourself approach or b) other managed SD-WAN service providers solutions that are out on the market, ngena’s fully-managed service is superior, as it offers an end-to-end automation and a central orchestration of the entire solution that make manual processes unnecessary and the roll-out of new sites or new network functions much more efficient and leaner.
If you’d like to learn more, let’s have a chat!
If you’d like to learn more about Software-Defined Networking, and how ngena can offer you a more flexible, performant and cost-effective enterprise-grade global network, why not contact us to arrange a meeting?