Three real-world examples of how to make SD-WAN work
SD-WAN has already begun to revolutionise the way businesses provision, manage, and optimise their networks. It’s also a relatively unfamiliar technology to most IT leaders, one which requires new ways of thinking about the network as well as technical skills. However, that shouldn’t dissuade them from introducing SD-WAN to their networks – a growing number of businesses have already turned the technology into major improvements to performance and ROI.
Adopting SD-WAN doesn’t have to happen across the entire network, all at once. Most businesses will gain confidence from running proofs-of-concept or pilot projects first, to determine how to minimise disruption and get the greatest value from a wider roll-out. Some of the most common benefits include:
SD-WAN has the potential to dramatically lower the costs of network operating costs, eliminating unnecessary redundancies and ironing out tangles in standard packet flow. One national Australian retailer was managing more than 115 sites around the country using point-to-point IPSEC VPN tunnels over the internet – a costly exercise operationally, which also put the business at greater risk of widespread connectivity outages.
After adopting SD-WAN technology to manage its infrastructure, however, the retailer found it simple to switch to a two-tier network design using MPLS and 4G technology. The solution streamlined the retailer’s network and dramatically improved reliability in all its stores, cutting its overall network costs by 20%.
When it detects SaaS and other real-time applications, SD-WAN can automatically prioritise or reroute their traffic to reduce latency and keep users running with minimal interruptions. One of our customers, a power user of SaaS and cloud services, needed a network that could automatically provision the necessary bandwidth as efficiently as possible. Their eventual SD-WAN solution allowed the individual applications running across the WAN to connect directly to their SaaS platforms, rather than being routed through the WAN’s data centres first. This ultimately led to significantly higher user satisfaction with significantly less running costs.
Mobile devices, video content, and other digital channels have sent demand for bandwidth through the roof – driving businesses to use SD-WAN to raise the ceiling. One financial services firm, for example, faced heavy pressure on its bandwidth due to data replication between two of its main sites, as well as growing traffic from its multiple branch offices.
SD-WAN allowed the firm to redirect much of its less-critical traffic through cheaper, high-bandwidth internet services, while also introducing 4G as a backup for spikes in bandwidth demand. That gave them 8 times more bandwidth in its two main sites, halving the load on its core MPLS system in the process.
SD-WAN technology can be rolled out to tackle specific problem sites, or as a complete CPE replacement across a corporate network. Some businesses introduce it as part of a network re-contract, while others do so on top of an existing corporate network. In all cases, they rely on strong partnerships with IT service providers, who can not only roll out the technology but also help businesses identify the network areas most ripe for improvement. If your business is keen to future-proof its network with SD-WAN, get in touch with us to find out how.