Software Defined WANs

Embrace the Consumerism of Enterprise Networks using Software Defined WANs

Consumers are accustomed to convenience wherever they go provided by instant access to the world’s information, courtesy of their smartphone. Increasingly, those consumers expect the same convenience and performance while at work. Wide Area Networks (WANs) have proven an important part of that experience, and Software Driven WANs are the next evolution. The increased usage of cloud network, a varying landscape of devices hungry for information and bandwidth, and an expectation of zero data lost in transfer are all trends powering the move toward Software Driven WANs.

Historically, specialized WAN routers provided traffic routing and connectivity at a premium cost, and that hardware treated all data the same. That is, if a group of employees suddenly starts streaming videos and your business is trying to receive critical transactional data via the same WAN connection, there could be delays while the video data transmits. This could create bottlenecks if for example a leader in an organization sends a video link to all employees and wants them to view it on their nearest device and earliest convenience.

Software Defined WANs address this problem by using centrally managed, intelligent software to classify the type of network traffic and prioritize it accordingly. While traditionally WAN links only allow 30-40% usage to allow for unplanned surges, Software Defined WANs can utilize much more of the available bandwidth because of the smart traffic prioritization.

Recent implementation efforts from companies like Google and Verizon are driving interest in Software Defined WANs, and some are referring to it as Cloud WANs, especially when outsourced to an external third party. With a Cloud WAN or SD WAN proprietary lock-in and unpredictable CLIs are no longer a concern. It enables a secure, fully operational branch office WAN connection in minutes rather than hours or days that can communicate across many protocols and shape traffic intelligently.

Enterprises are following the trend of consumers who are now used to easy access to cloud applications like Google Apps and Office 365. The cloud first enabled easy access to productivity applications and now with SD WANs or Cloud WANs, the same convenience is developing for enterprise network needs.

Cloud WANs are a hotbed of innovation right now with millions of venture capital rolling out to startups like

Aryaka and CloudGenix. More established players like Cisco are also investing heavily in this space. Both new and existing industry leaders are revolutionizing how networks link and manage bandwidth, and it’s all aimed at providing the best user experience.

SD WANs and Cloud WANs provide the opportunity for a host of new optimizations around network deployment. They also require less time to manage the network, and have lower hardware costs. Cloud WANs enable strategic connections between networks to deliver applications reliably when employees need them most, and those links can be managed from centrally housed consoles. In effect, that generates more productivity for everyone who uses the network. This also means that ongoing algorithmic network optimization is possible, just think of how many new features Amazon’s Alexa deploys every month, your network could be just as iterative. Consumers have expected that ongoing performance improvement and convenience at home for a while, and they increasingly expect it at work in the enterprise.