As digital transformation beckons, SD-WAN offers a clear path to the cloud

Once upon a time, your network provided more than enough headroom for your business requirements. But as digital transformation pushes you to the cloud and network usage increases in volume and complexity, that same network can quickly become a drag on productivity.

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) offer an excellent solution by turning network and bandwidth configuration into a software solution. This allows management of an SD-WAN to be handled internally on your network, or just as easily outsourced to a third party so you can focus on your business.

Demand for SD-WAN solutions is exploding, with IDC projecting annual revenue growth of 69.6 percent that will push the global market past $US8.05 billion ($A10b) by 2021. This growth will be driven by broader solutions support, an expanding range of SD-WAN managed services, and customers’ understanding that traditional WANs simply don’t perform in the way that modern cloud architectures require them to.

Those new architectures require flexible, responsive network architecture that can complement the flexibility that makes cloud so appealing. SD-WANs extend the increasingly popular software-defined networking (SDN) paradigm across large distances, allowing communications services to be monitored and managed all the way from the desktop to the cloud.

There are many ways to implement the technology, and several factors can affect your decision about the best way to consume SD-WAN services.

One of the most important is your own level of in-house management services. Many companies have small IT teams, and dedicating an entire staff member to network management means they are less available to handle other important tasks – such as completing your company’s digital transformation vision.

Even if your staff are comfortable handling network functions in-house, the availability of outside assistance and expertise can be transformational by matching the reach and growth of the business. NTT ICT, for example, has relationships with over 200 infrastructure vendors to assist with any hardware requirements. Their high quality global network service offers coverage in over 190 countries/regions.

These relationships not only simplify the process of rolling out and managing regional or global networks, but they allow managed service providers to access bulk discounts that help keep the cost of a managed SD-WAN service highly competitive. Service providers also deal with fixing service outages, monitoring WAN performance, and adding bandwidth as necessary to ensure a strong end-user experience.

For some companies, however, core WAN functions are too intrinsically linked to the operation of the business to be outsourced completely. In such cases, modern network solutions enable the use of hybrid SD-WAN architectures that keep SDN hardware on-premises but shift monitoring and management of that hardware to third parties that can integrate the SDN and SD-WAN into an overall enterprise dashboard.

Other options can take over the entire WAN service, effectively allowing you to plug your network into the wall and have an expert service provider manage every other part of the WAN experience on your behalf.

Whatever degree of SDN and SD-WAN feels right for your company, you’ll find a service provider that can help extend it to the cloud – and support the whole environment as your business grows and changes. SD-WAN is a game-changer and an enabler for the cloud-based services that empower your digital transformation for the future.

Andoni Salvador
Author Name: Andoni Salvador

Andoni Salvador is a Network Solutions Architect at NTT Communications ICT Solutions (NTT ICT) with over 14 years’ experience in the IT industry. He thrives on working closely with customers to understand their business requirements and technology environment, then designing a robust network solution that is fit for purpose.

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Added 26 February 2018

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