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Above, multiple connectivity types.
On the subject of marketing hype, I’ll refrain from mentioning the service provider in question, but I recall a particular ‘large telco’ pushing MPLS as a serious alternative to their Frame and ATM network. Unfortunately, for their customers, the providers MPLS network consisted of nothing more than a single Provider Edge (PE) located in London.
The lesson? Forcing service provider transparency when dealing with hype was important back then as it is today.
Have a search on ‘death of MPLS' for multiple examples of hype from certain providers pushing a single technology.
It looks very much as if the industry has forgotten the original vision of SD-WAN services. An application based technology with the ability to interface with whatever connection type is required for a given need. While there are SD-WAN providers pursuing the original vision, the majority are pushing SD-WAN as the Internet VPN version 2.
The main reason why the marketing of cost reduction is so prevalent surrounds the use of low-cost Internet connectivity. At a high level, the thought process encompasses leveraging the lowest cost Internet provider in any given area with SD-WAN technology sorting out any connectivity problems.
The laws of physics apply, and even with clever packet inspection and prioritisation, traffic must still receive good latency and jitter in order to perform well for the long term.
The majority of Network Union clients operate hybrid networks; ensuring the right technology applies vs. specific requirements. The needs of most corporate WAN services do not meet one particular technology; many are made up of layer 3 MPLS, layer 2
True Software deployments can terminate ANY connectivity type.
When deploying missing critical, delay sensitive services there is a need to offer your business peers the confidence that the said services will perform. SD-WAN services meet the need to service applications via granular identification of traffic (think packet inspection) with the ability to sense network conditions.
The SD-WAN traffic treatment feature set has evolved the capability of standard Layer 3 MPLS QoS which normally offers the following service provider configuration.
However, the fundamental benefit of private MPLS and VPLS remains: End to End QoS across tail circuit and network provider infrastructure.
And this is perhaps why most networks end up as a hybrid of WAN connectivity. Where core high performance office to office network connectivity is required, end to end QoS provided by MPLS is perhaps the optimum route. However, for smaller branch offices or remote users, SD-WAN offers up the ability to make the most of whatever connection is presented.
The QoS discussion is further complicated when dealing with the Global Enterprise. In many instances, Global connectivity is often on the borderline of the required latency for Voice and Video. Therefore, adopting a provider agnostic SD-WAN approach or even using a single public IP backbone may not provide the required infrastructure to confidently support delay sensitive traffic.
With the above said, many Enterprises are adopting single Internet providers with the confidence that the ISP network is well scaled and engineered. We would keep an open mind, every design is different and should be based on transparency of provider infrastructure performance.
The lines are becoming a little blurred on this subject of SD-WAN vs. any connectivity type or services due to the necessity to support both public and private Cloud infrastructure on public and private networks.
Security is becoming the most discussed topic at almost all of our workshops and customer meetings regardless of WAN type. The reason is fairly
Direct access to cloud connectivity isn’t quite supported by every vendor.. just yet.
However, we are approaching a world where software feature sets are available as virtualised instances. It is almost the default option to move services to cloud infrastructure but today we are still in the mode of providing hardware-based devices for HQ and large branch office infrastructure. Perhaps in 10 or 20 years, we’ll see a global wireless network where companies no longer wait for physical 100Mbps or 1Gbps Ethernet but simply consume as required.
One of the pros for SD-WAN is the ‘software based’ element which is very much in line with both current and future thinking. There are vendors offering cloud based virtualised networking services accessible via an application - there’s not only a clear cost benefit but the approach is right in line with the original SDN (Software Defined Networking)
I cannot underestimate the pros of SD-WAN virtual instances. Of course, cost and management are up there in terms of benefits but so is provider migration. The majority of customer frustration and dissatisfaction with their service provider surrounds managed services.
If your connectivity is based on public Internet there is no need to change your service provider, you simply move your virtualised SD-WAN instance to the new software WAN provider of choice. No longer do you need to migrate your MPLS circuit away with your managed service, your business is positioned to only remove the element which isn’t working.
One of the reasons why companies choose not to move service provider is directly attributed to the issue of moving physical circuits and hardware. SD-WAN removes the majority of these provider migration issues.
The ability to achieve ease of migration is dependent on using public Internet connectivity.
The SD-WAN Pros and Cons Mindmap.
The Pros of SD-WAN are very much in the arena of single device or cloud instance to support whatever connectivity your business requires. Whether users are
Further Pros include granular local QoS together with networking feature sets that are growing in sophistication driven by
The cost savings are driven by largely by leveraging
Where single ISP reach isn’t possible, multiple backbones are clearly the second choice but careful examination of SLA performance is critical.
As with every networking technology, SD-WAN does have Pros and Cons. The service should form a component of your WAN depending on specific requirements. In most instances, networking is rarely one single solution. With this said, SD-WAN looks to be attempting a take-over to become the key component of hybrid networking.
There is no doubt, Cloud, Unified Comms (think SIP and VoIP), Security, Remote Access,
One thing is for sure, SD-WAN accomplishes business objectives by bundling capability into a single device or virtualised instance. The technology is fundamentally designed to offer a complete end to end solution for the WAN.
As new applications are deployed, the centralised policies which exist are designed to provide not only the appropriate traffic treatment (QoS) but also security and user profile restrictions. The overall benefit is to reduce network complexity in a world where applications are actually becoming ever more sophisticated.
The Internet is perhaps the main 'discussed topic' when considering SD-WAN services as we’re all conditioned to expect variable performance.
However, to re-iterate again, using a single ISP backbone is a vastly different proposition compared to multiple ISP
Although public Cloud is a driver behind SD-WAN, private technologies such as layer 3 MPLS and layer 2 VPLS are meeting the challenge by creating on-net connectivity interconnects with companies such as AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure and Salesforce cloud.
The WAN is evolving fast, SD-WAN should be technology (circuit) agnostic. In other words, an Enterprise should not be forced to choose between public Internet and private infrastructure. The net gain of any technology is to solve business requirements which
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