Latest Innovations around SD-WAN
By Art Cartwright, Chief Operating Officer, Macquarie
SD-WAN is a specific application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology applied to WAN connections, which are used to connect enterprise networks – including branch offices and data centers – over large geographic distances.
How does SDWAN work?
SD-WAN intelligently binds two or more data services together: ADSL and Ethernet, for example. The SD-WAN box then treats the amalgamated services as a single data pipe, and splits data packets intelligently over these services to maximize speed. It chooses which service to send each packet through by measuring realtime performance – intelligently compensating for packet loss, latency, jitter and capacity – and picking the best link for each packet of data. It then assembles the packets at the other end.
The SD-WAN box is smart enough to prioritize data packets according to their application. So a voice call, which needs super low latency, will take priority over email or an OS update.
In practice, this means a VoIP call or video conference will experience significantly less degradation and dropouts compared to traditional networks. Cloud data storage and SaaS (software-as-a-service) apps will respond faster, too.
5 key insights on SDWAN
Over the past few weeks, Macquarie Telecom have been exploring the maturation of SD-WAN around the globe and we thought it might be interesting to share our view on what’s happening in the market. From summits in the US, Singapore and Paris along with a series of meetings with service providers we have seen a great deal of change and maturation within the SD-WAN sphere.
SD-WAN has won the marketing battle, with a flexible definition it has been tied to a significant range of vendor solutions
With the amount of cloud, big data and video conferencing services all driving demand for more connections and more bandwidth, all of which are driving demand for more connections and bandwidth. Telecom providers and customers who do not have SD-WAN in their portfolio will start falling behind in the near future.
Let’s look at the five key insights we took from these summits:
1. SD-WAN has won the marketing battle, with a flexible definition it has been tied to a significant range of vendor solutions. We are progressively seeing SD-WAN across IOT, mobile and Wi-Fi now as well as the network. The degree of adoption by large scale vendors and service providers globally makes it clear that MPLS networking is a legacy approach, perhaps not dead but certainly in the downward trend of its lifecycle as a product set.
2. How SD-WAN integrates into Cloud environment matters, with it due to become a key differentiation point of SD-WAN solutions shortly. An effective SD-WAN solution works to integrate multiple Cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, Google, VMware), providing for better and easier connectivity. The SD-WAN platform a customer should select is one that allows them to move between these Clouds easily and when they choose. The next step in this space will be a single pane of glass for Clouds and the SD-WAN network.
3. SD is extending further. We expect to see SD-LAN as a natural extension in the near future. What does this mean? In short, it means sophisticated Wi-Fi deployments in branches and offices, with clearer visibility for the IT team from the cloud, across the network, into the branch and right down to the user’s laptop. In effect, Network as a Service is looking to be truly viable in the not too distant future.
4. With SD-WAN extending into IOT, Mobile and Wi-Fi, we are seeing the development of a unified network fabric that extends beyond what we have previously defined as the network. What does that really mean? Simply, higher visibility, application aware networking and policy management from the cloud to the user’s device.
5. The way many are positioning SD-WAN globally is spectacularly complicated. If you have spoken to someone who has made SD-WAN seem complicated then you are talking to someone with a limited capability in their solution. At it’s foundation SD-WAN is about shifting the network management from the command line to a simple interface and application led management. This means simplicity in deployment, use and management of the solution, especially when compared to legacy systems.
As the leading SD-WAN provider in Australia, we have consistently been at the forefront of this technology and will continue to lead both the conversation and direction of this platform. To find out more about SD-WAN, reach out to me on InMail, or hit me up at one of our informal information sessions around the country.