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The Path to SD-WAN


Sorell Slaymaker – Principal Consulting Analyst


As organizations move to become Digital Enterprises, we see the traditional network, storage and compute infrastructure is increasingly software defined. The requirements for speed, flexibility, scalability and the movement from capital to operational expenses are driving this trend. Innovations such cloud computing, virtual machines, containers, edge-computing, and virtual storage are removing the limits on the compute/storage by providing independence from the underlying physical assets. Software Defined Wide Area Networks are driving the transition of networking (transport) in much the same way.

Software Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WANs) promise to help enterprise networks run faster, better and at a lower price point while improving security. These purported benefits have led to rapid growth in the SD-WAN space with CAGR in the 70% range. Cloud, mobility, IoT, and edge computing are disrupting traditional networking models for connecting users and devices to services, applications, and data. This movement to the edge also supports the high SD-WAN growth.

Historically SD-WANs represent the 4th generation of Wide Area Networks and totally transform the way WANs are designed and built. Most research to date in this area focuses on the benefits of SD-WANs, but we’ll not only cover the value. of SD-WANs, but the reality of how and when SD-WANs be used most effectively, architectural approaches and associated trade-offs. Every enterprise network is unique and selecting and implementing an SD-WAN strategy is a complex process.

SD-WANs provide improved network performance and security as applications can be hosted anywhere in the cloud and users are mobile and everywhere. The software part means that routing and security can be run on commodity hardware, virtualized infrastructure, or within a cloud hosted environment. The future is clearly SD-WANs and this report will walk you through the benefits, architecture, roadblocks, planning process, migration and deployment guidelines.  

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