SD-WAN technology offers responsive, flexible networks
Data gives businesses their competitive edge, and today many businesses transfer increasingly large amounts of data between the cloud, data centers, offices and other locations. As data moves from residing on servers located at headquarters sites to residing in the cloud, this shift in data traffic is prompting more businesses to seek solutions to optimize the performance of their wide area networks (WAN) and corresponding applications.
The answer: software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). As its name suggests, this solution has a software-empowered control system. SD-WAN separates its networking hardware from its control system, which enables its chief characteristic of allowing WAN routers to be managed from a central cloud portal, simplifying overall network management.
SD-WAN solutions allow your information technology and network managers to take full control of how data traffic flows through your company WAN. With SD-WAN’s application visibility and application prioritization features, you can see the traffic on your networks and prioritize them to align with your business needs. You also can easily hand over management and monitoring of your SD-WAN network to a service provider that can relieve you of these day-to-day tasks.
SD-WAN solutions are becoming more relevant in the retail, hospitality and health care industries where it is important to isolate different types of traffic while maintaining specific business policies, such as segmenting credit card (payment card industry, or PCI) traffic from corporate traffic and guest internet traffic. With SD-WAN, businesses can create separate policies and rules for each segment. For example, a hotel can direct guest Wi-Fi traffic to a secure firewall while isolating PCI traffic and directing it to a secure payment card server. Deployment is simplified and policies are applied automatically across the network via cloud management capabilities.
When you consider an SD-WAN solution, weigh the features and benefits against what is most important to your organization. Consider things like a fully managed solution that takes advantage of the quick deployment model as well as 24/7 monitoring and management. If network resiliency and quality of experience for critical traffic are important, make sure your chosen solution supports application visibility and prioritization. Multilink bonding will help your service survive outages and maintain quality of experience. Proprietary algorithms and built-in packet duplication can ensure that applications withstand severe degradation.
As there are a multitude of options with SD-WAN, it’s important to find a trusted technology partner to help you navigate this landscape and provide the best solution for your business.
Ken Van Orman is senior product manager of data center, cloud and managed services at Hawaiian Telcom. Reach him at Ken.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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