How to choose a software defined WAN (SD-WAN)



This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

Only 1% of companies use software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions today, but Gartner says the promise of cost savings and performance improvements will drive that number to more than 30% by 2019. Why aren’t more businesses deploying now given the sizeable list of vendor tools available? It could be a lack of understanding about the varying approaches to bringing software-defined networking to the branch.

Before exploring those differences, let’s review why SD-WAN is so promising for branch environments. Compared to traditional WANs, SD-WANs reduce the complexity of network hardware at branch offices and centralize and simplify management. SD-WANs also allow businesses to augment or replace MPLS networks by using less expensive Internet links in a logical overlay and intelligently routing traffic over multiple paths directly to the Internet, rather than through a central data center. This improves application performance and makes more efficient use of bandwidth.

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