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The software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN or SDWAN) is a specific application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology applied to WAN connections, which are used to connect enterprise networks – including branch offices and data centers – over large geographic distances.
A WAN might be used, for example, to connect branch offices to a central corporate network, or to connect data centers separated by distance. In the past, these WAN connections often used technology that required special proprietary hardware. The SD-WAN movement seeks to move more of the network control is moved into the “cloud,” using a software approach.
The main goal of SD-WAN (SDWAN) technology is to deliver a business-class, secure, and simple cloud-enabled WAN connection with as much open and software-based technology as possible. This can be used to deliver basic WAN connectivity, or it can be used for premium business services such as VPN, WAN optimization, and applications delivery control (ADC).
Benefits of SD-WAN
Deploying WAN systems is so last year. SD-WAN enables businesses to send SD-WAN devices to branches un-configured. The device then can download its policy, crypto certificate and keys and automatically start to learn traffic patterns. Provisioning is dramatically easier with SD-WAN.
Intelligent Pathway Control
One of the most important advantages of SD-WAN is that it can provide intelligent path control that steers traffic based on application. This traffic-forwarding capability can be set in place at the centralized controller level and then pushed out to all SD-WAN devices. Policies can be based on IP addresses, application profiles, port number, quality-of-service markings, time of day, or any other number of variables.
Unlike traditional WAN solutions, which handle security through multiple appliances at each branch office, SD-WAN can include all of these functions in-box and at lower cost. SD-WAN can integrate with a cloud web content filtering service, too, and offer malware defenses and botnet command-and-control intervention for every branch and remote devices.
What SD-WAN gives businesses is true transport independence. Since the WAN is virtualized, it can take advantage of any transport protocol that is needed. This includes 3G, 4G LTE, MPLS, Internet, Ethernet, Serial or Wi-Fi. Businesses that use SD-WAN have total transport flexibility.