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The cloudy reasons why SD-WAN is in your future

Does your organization operate from more than one location? Do the people at your “other” sites complain about uneven application performance while your IT staff struggles with network management hassles and an uptick in cyberthreats?

Perhaps it’s time you revisit the traditional wide-area network (WAN) and dedicated multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) circuits you’ve been using to connect your remote sites to your data center and/or the cloud services you’ve deployed.

After all, as your enterprise commits to key information technologies like cloud services in order to stay competitive, your traditional WAN may have become a bottleneck. So you need to upgrade the back end of your technology infrastructure to support the front end’s evolving business requirements.

Facing the limits of traditional WANs

Here’s why: your traditional WAN routes anyone at your remote sites seeking internet access back to the central office where both the broadband capabilities necessary for internet access and the various security mechanisms for filtering internet traffic reside.

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But as your employees (and partners, contractors, vendors, and guests) increasingly embrace internet-based cloud services, your traditional WAN cannot cope with the resulting bandwidth demand. Application performance suffers, triggering poor user experiences and hits to productivity. Meanwhile, your operations are exposed to cyberthreats and compliance issues while the complexity of managing it all overwhelms your IT staff.

Enter SD-WAN

The solution? A new, cloud-first approach to remote-site network connectivity — software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) — that can reduce your operational costs and improve your resource usage by deploying bandwidth more efficiently.

With SD-WAN, you can…

  • Improve application performance for users everywhere across multiple clouds, thanks to application-aware routing that can dynamically move traffic between dedicated circuits and secure internet connections, including secure virtual private network (VPN) connections;
  • Boost security by enforcing real-time threat prevention at your remote sites via application-aware policies, so data need not travel back to your data center or cloud providers for the advanced security protections of firewalls, DNS enforcement, and intrusion prevention;
  • Cloud-enable all your locations by seamlessly extending your WAN to multiple public clouds and SaaS applications for real-time optimized performance and workflows; and
  • Simplify management, making it easy to scale across thousands of branch, campus, or cloud endpoints via a centralized management dashboard with template-based, automated provisioning for all locations as well as to manage WAN, cloud, and security configurations and to feed detailed application and WAN performance data into analytics engines.
Which way to SD-WAN?

SD-WAN capabilities can be deployed in several ways — as an appliance, with software licenses, via SD-WAN as a service, and as a managed service. In my next post, I’ll explore these options.

Meet the Author
Tim Burke is the President and CEO of Quest. He has been at the helm for over 30 years.
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