Tag Archives: Enterprise

Understanding the Differences Between SD-WAN and SDN

Wondering what the difference is between SD-WAN and SDN? MicroCorp has answers.There has been an explosion of interest in software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) as enterprises look for ways to quickly equip new branches with network access and address security needs for a growing IT infrastructure. As SD-WAN becomes more widespread, it is easily confused with its predecessor, the still-relevant and useful software-defined networking (SDN).

SD-WAN and SDN share similarities, most notably their separation of the control plane and data plane, and they both support the implementation of additional virtual network functions.

The original intent of SDN was to meet modern computing needs of local area networks (LANs) and service provider networks. It was developed as a way to support the changing needs of data centers and networks. IT professionals like it for its central control console and the agility achieved by being able to directly program the SDN.

Many of the same core principles are true for SD-WAN, but it has its own distinguishing features:

  • SD-WAN provides software-defined application routing to the WAN.
  • An enterprise’s locations, spread out over a large geographic area (even on a global scale) can be easily and quickly connected using SD-WAN, connecting data centers, remote and mobile users, as well as headquarters and branch offices.
  • While SDN is programmed and configured by the customer or user, SD-WAN programming is managed by the vendor, making it a simpler option for the end user.
  • SD-WAN’s focus is on connecting users across a geographic span, while SDN is concentrated on the local area network.
  • SD-WAN is routable through software-defined applications that can be run virtually, and SDN is enabled by network function virtualization.

SD-WAN is an application-based routing system, rather than a traditional, packet-based network routing system, which allows companies to use broadband Internet with better performance and quality, as well as at a lower cost than what they are accustomed to with multi-protocol label switching (MPLS).

SD-WAN allows for a centralized application routing governance, while improving both agility and flexibility. It allows you to easily identify which applications are traveling over the WAN and create guiding policies on how they are prioritized on the network.

Overall, SD-WAN simplifies the network management for the end user, allowing your IT professionals to focus on other areas of your technology management. It’s important, particularly if you are adding SD-WAN to an existing network structure, that you have a clear understanding of how this addition will impact WiFi, voice and video, as well as other areas.

Before choosing your network solution for a growing enterprise, talk with our team at MicroCorp. We can help you determine the best fit for your network needs and learn how SD-WAN will impact associated programs and your overall security coverage. Give us a call to talk more.

How the Cloud is Driving SD-WAN

Learn how cloud adoption is driving SD-WAN.The adoption of Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is increasing, providing enterprises with a host of benefits. 451 Research reports that one in five companies indicate that they’ll adopt SD-WAN in the following year, and an additional 30 percent say that adoption of SD-WAN is on their radar.

The benefits of implementing SD-WAN include:

  • The ability to optimize connections to the cloud and secure those connections better than with current networks, which is a key driver of SD-WAN use
  • An application-aware approach to WAN, which is becoming more important to IT managers as cloud usage expands
  • Improved agility and cost-savings

Cloud Adoption is Spurring SD-WAN

The migration of companies’ software solutions to the cloud is an independent event, but the use of SD-WAN is occurring alongside it. As IT professionals pursue a transition to cloud software, they don’t want to sacrifice performance or security in seeking out the cost savings and agility that’s found in cloud applications.

A traditional WAN is set up with individual branches connected to a central location using a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) connection or other dedicated circuits. Each branch has a router that acts independently, and traffic on the connection is managed based on static routing.

SD-WAN, by contrast, removes the control plane from the physical devices that are at each branch, which provides central control and visibility over the WAN. This means that enterprises are able to mix and match the connections that are being used and the various carriers, allowing for greater flexibility and agility.

This set-up trades a wheel-and-spokes structure for one where the enterprise can connect directly to the cloud. Additionally, IT professionals have more visibility to work with the entire network footprint and manage traffic for optimized cloud application performance.

As cloud migration continues to increase, it’s expected that SD-WAN will grow alongside it. The same 451 Research poll results indicate that 88 percent of respondents plan to increase their cloud and hosting budgets in 2017.

What’s Holding You Back?

There are some potential obstacles to implementing SD-WAN, and one or more may keep your company from embracing this technology:

  • The cost of new equipment that SD-WAN requires
  • Concerns about the maturity of the current offerings for SD-WAN
  • Internet performance
  • Security concerns

Some experts predict that cloud offerings may soon be bundled with SD-WAN, because the marriage of the two makes sense in nearly every situation.

MicroCorp is an expert in connectivity and the cloud. When you partner with us, you’ll have access to not only the ideal cloud solutions for your enterprise, but also the connectivity you need to support optimized performance and cloud management agility. Give us a call today.

SD-WAN Technology Will Continue to Expand in 2017

SD-WAN adoption continues to boom. MicroCorp can help you take advantage.Enterprise tech experts believe that 2017 is going to be a big year for integrated network technologies, particularly with regard to appliances. Integrated networks are now far easier to deploy and manage than they were even a couple of years ago, and many pundits are predicting that the enterprise space will see a sharp rise in the number of network appliance deployments this year. Somewhat surprisingly, SD-WAN technology has proven to be a major driver of this shift.

When the integrated network trend first surfaced, it seemed as though NFV technologies were going to be the go-to option for network design and deployment. However, they require a significant investment of IT resources, and many enterprises don’t want to handle all their integration requirements in-house. SD-WAN solutions have stepped in to fill the void, in large part because they offer centralized control and configuration features that greatly reduce the amount of care and feeding the network needs for peak performance.
Major Factors Driving the SD-WAN Trend

In particular, there are five major reasons why SD-WAN has become the solution of choice for integrated networking:

  • An application-oriented focus. Because SD-WAN is so centralized, it supports superior network adaptability and application-level reporting. By contrast, branch networks powered by multi-vendor solutions do not achieve nearly the same level of consistency.
  • Flexibility and responsiveness to change. This adaptability carries over to the service, integration, and policy spheres. Generally speaking, SD-WAN networks are the least rigid and most suited to change and flexibility, making them a better fit in a constantly shifting technology landscape.
  • Better processor technologies. Today’s processors have made it possible to assign a wider range of functions to hardware than ever before, without any loss of performance. SD-WAN networks exploit this to their advantage.
  • The rise of cloud computing. Because the cloud has shifted a great deal of Internet traffic to links, SD-WAN has emerged as a prime solution because it vastly reduces the workload placed on other network resources.
  • An “easier is better” mentality. Today, enterprises expect technologies to be easy to use without requiring a great deal of setup. SD-WAN fits the bill, and because it is so much easier to create and deploy, it is supplanting older networking techniques that are comparatively complicated and thus seen as outdated.

The connectivity and communication professionals at MicroCorp offer industry-leading expertise and a comprehensive suite of business-oriented, SD-WAN-powered integrated networking solutions. Please contact a MicroCorp client services representative to learn more.