SD-WAN Enables Cloudification of IT… but at what cost?

SD-WAN could help your business tackle all the challenges inherent to traditional networking and support a new cloud-based app consumption model. But only if deployed in the right way.

Increasingly slow and unreliable performance has seen many organizations migrate their bandwidth-hungry applications to the cloud. Yet in doing so, it has become crystal clear that traditional enterprise WANs based on conventional routers were never made for the cloud. For security, they typically require backhauling all traffic – including that destined to the cloud – from the branch to headquarters to the internet and back again. But backhaul adds latency (delay) that harms application performance, resulting in poor user experience and lost productivity.

This is just one of the many reasons businesses worldwide are turning to SD-WAN. An overlay technology for your existing WAN, SD-WAN is designed to fully support applications hosted in traditional enterprise data centers, but also public or private clouds and IaaS and SaaS solutions such as Salesforce, Office365 and Dropbox. It uses software and centralized control functionality to intelligently steer traffic across the WAN, based on priority, quality of service and security requirements.

These attributes make it clear SD-WAN can simplify the design, deployment, and management of cloud-connected networks. And with the additional potential benefits of better network control and performance, faster branch deployment, better security, and significant cost savings, the technology is regarded as an enabler for businesses to become more productive and agile.

Whether you are in the planning, deployment or optimization phase of SD-WAN, use our SD-WAN Test Guide to get you seamlessly through your journey.

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Dealing with unknowns

However, given today’s complex enterprise network architectures – involving multiple MPLS, internet and 4G link combinations between various locations such as a datacentre, HQ office and branch offices – and the huge variety of different SD-WAN vendor solutions on offer, it can be difficult to ensure a seamless transition from you legacy network to SD-WAN.

Whether you are in the midst of planning, deploying or even optimizing a new SD-WAN or hybrid network, you will have important questions and concerns about this transition – questions best answered away from the live network environment.

Acting as a network in a box, WAN emulators such as the Calnex SNE can perfectly mimic the real-world conditions under which an SD-WAN or hybrid network needs to perform. This simulated live environment testing can enable you to answer questions about how changes to your network will impact performance without putting your live network at risk.

Fit for purpose

As an example, a WAN emulator can help you answer critical questions when planning to deploy a new SD-WAN or hybrid network, like: ‘Will it all work? Will IT service be affected? And will users complain?’ Another key question might be: ‘Which vendor solution is best suited to our business?’ By providing a realistic testing environment, a WAN emulator can enable you to evaluate how various vendor solutions will perform benchmarked against existing networks and your current and future performance expectations, and all before any purchase decisions have been made.

This ability to replicate your network design and then test and validate its performance – including simulating SD-WAN migration, day-to-day performance and adverse scenarios – is crucial to not only enabling a seamless transition to SD-WAN, but also ensuring your company reaps all the benefits SD-WAN can bring.

As data and applications continue to grow exponentially, business success is increasingly dependent on uninterrupted, smooth cloud-based services. For this reason, network emulation has never been more important in ensuring your (SD-)WAN backbone is strong, healthy and ready for the connectivity challenges the future will bring.

Anand Ram
VP Business Development

Find out more about the test product here: Calnex SNE

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