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SD-WAN: An Inside Look at a Revolutionary Network Tool

SD-WAN is a staple of the digital age — but what’s behind the acronym? Well, SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) is a virtualized, centralized networking tool that opens up new levels of agility and ease for growing businesses.

When it comes to meeting the needs of digitally transforming organizations, it’s easy to sing the praises of SD-WAN. Still, taking a peek behind this virtual curtain and understanding exactly how it works for businesses and why they should think about integrating it is key. So, we’re giving you the scoop on this software-defined secret to getting the best of tomorrow’s performance-driven, innovative networking.

What’s the Deal with WAN? 

Latency, jitter, data loss and other network performance issues are not something that any business, consumer or service can thrive on in today’s online world. Great network performance — and reliable service at that — are table stakes. Without these assets, the next-gen experiences that customers are looking for suffer, and organizations trying to meet their customers’ needs fall short of building the trust they’d like to win for their brand.

All this to say: Application performance is top of mind, no matter where you look in today’s global business landscape. Now, network footprints are growing, more business points of presence are being added, more network functions are being built in, more data is flowing across these connections and a growing number of updates must be made to the IT systems daily. These are all necessary changes to keep digital transformations on track, but keeping everything in working order across these WANs (Wide Area Networks) gets harder and more complex.

These foundational WAN architectures are crucial for business success because of how they keep business points, people and applications connected from edge campuses to core data centers. And what’s more, they need to be consistently advanced, and secure, across their entire footprints. This is the challenge that SD-WAN solves.

Why Virtualize the Network?

SD-WAN puts two little letters in front of the traditional WAN — but this small change on paper packs a punch in practice. In reality, a software-defined network offers a new system-wide paradigm that prepares these networks for the onslaught of data that advanced services, clouds and applications are bringing on board. It also makes the network more secure, agile, reliable and cost-effective.

It accomplishes this by enabling organizations to utilize internet-based connectivity, through which a host of different types of transport services can be leveraged. Then, the entirety of the network is managed through a software overlay, as opposed to a traditional WAN where connectivity and security management information is programmed into the physical network components. This original WAN strategy meant that any time a network needed to be updated, all branches and offices and locations for physical hardware would need to re-program independently. SD-WAN avoids this with centralized, seamless network management. This also means that, as traffic demands change across the footprint, connectivity can be dynamically adapted.

Overall, what makes SD-WAN special is the layer of virtualized connectivity that sits on top of the physical network. Being able to abstract day-to-day changes and management of the network empowers teams to allow their network to work for them without getting bogged down with physical adjustments across the entire footprint. Virtualization is the magic that makes a network better suited to a fast-moving, quickly-improving digital era.

More and more organizations across healthcare, finance, education, retail and beyond are choosing to take the SD-WAN plunge and improve their network through the power of software. If you need an SD-WAN partner that can help you make your move to the future of networking, Horizon is here to help.

To learn more about how our local expertise and extensive networking experience can assist you in deploying your SD-WAN solution, click here.

 

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