Enterprises and other large organizations are rarely satisfied with just one cloud provider’s offerings. To get all the functionality they need, they usually use a multi-cloud strategy. They want to access these services efficiently from all their branches. The best way to do this is to have the cloud services as part of their network, not just something each branch connects to separately.
The SD-WAN approach makes this possible. It lets all parts of the enterprise participate in the company-wide network, and any IaaS services can be part of it as well.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN stands for “software-defined wide area network.” It’s based on the principles of software-defined networking (SDN). SDN is a type of architecture, while SD-WAN is an implementation. Instead of using a dedicated router as a front end to the network, an SD-WAN uses software to specify the networking behavior.
Connections between remote locations can use any transport mechanism. The Internet is the most popular way to connect, since it’s available almost everywhere. All communication over public lines is strongly encrypted, so it’s as secure as a local network. Adding a location is just a matter of reconfiguring the network through a control panel.
The traditional approach to the WAN, based on MPLS, depends on dedicated lines. It’s expensive to set up and expand and cloud services, not being tied to a specific location, don’t fit in well. An SD-WAN can use any Internet path, making it more cost-effective to add smaller locations. The SD-WAN architecture is transport-agnostic, so it can keep MPLS for the connections with the highest traffic.
An SD-WAN offers many advantages:
- No specialized hardware or cabling is needed. All that’s required is an Internet connection.
- Deployment and expansion are easy. Administrators do all the work through a convenient user interface.
- Any transport mechanism is usable. While Internet connections are the most common choice, direct RF, fiber, and satellite connections are all possible.
- An SD-WAN can do smart routing at the application level, providing faster connections with less latency.
- Offices can deploy redundant physical connections to increase their availability.
SD-WAN and Multi-cloud
The SD-WAN approach to networking really comes into its own when combined with the enterprise cloud.
- Cloud services are part of the network, rather than being connected to from the network. This simplifies access and improves security.
- All branches can have direct access to all the cloud services they need, even when they operate in conjunction with locally hosted services. There’s no need to funnel all requests through a data center.
- An SD-WAN provides smart routing, so that each location can use a cloud server that gives it the least latency.
- Direct networked connections to IaaS services are efficient and secure. There’s no need to set up customized connections for each office.
- If only certain locations should have access to a cloud service, the network can be segmented to enforce that requirement.
DoubleHorn has extensive expertise with multi-cloud integrations in wide-area networks and can aid with your cloud migration.
Time to Start Planning for SD-WAN
An SD-WAN cloud strategy offers clear advantages to a geographically distributed organization. It’s more economical and flexible than hard-wired MPLS networks. All branches, not just the biggest offices, can connect without incurring unreasonable costs.
Managing a multi-cloud environment is simpler with an SD-WAN. Integrating cloud services into the network lets administrators control access and make configuration adjustments without having to work separately with each branch.
With DoubleHorn on your side, you have a trusted partner to help your enterprise bring all its branches and services together in one smooth-running network. Contact us to learn how we can help with your cloud migration.