Application-based routing needs network policy to control it, as well as a protocol for the hardware to think on its own. This is simultaneously amazing and awful. Amazing because you have a network that is dynamic and changes with the needs of the applications. Awful because computers have limitations. They are only as smart as what we input, they take time to perfect, and when they hit inevitable roadblocks, they drop the sessions.
For organizations seeking to solve such networking problems, Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solutions facilitate the leveraging a combination of diverse WAN links, optimum path selection and connection quality.
Routing Problems Compounded
Imagine a scenario in which traffic is best relegated to a network Internet connection, but voice and video traffic are best handled through a private connection. In order to facilitate this, the network infrastructure must amass and analyze dizzying amounts of flow data in real-time.
Manually monitoring these policies across a large infrastructure represents the height of inefficiency, but this is effectively what takes place in many business instances. As a result of established policies, an Internet connection in one city may outperform an MPLS connection in another city, yet the reverse can be the case when another city or region is factored in. The configuration of dozens of sites where this is the case requires in-depth knowledge to execute.
The SD-WAN Solution
Of course, SD-WAN is a different paradigm entirely, separating control from data areas. In this scenario, network devices forward IP packets, and a controller executes policy for how to move the packets forward. The controller collects metadata from end points, and the end points are situated in front of WAN connections to create an overlay. Contingent upon the application parameters and the network, the controller determines traffic flow through the overlay.
Since the network controller is usually an x86 server or a cluster thereof, the capacity for analysis is better than a network protocol running on dedicated hardware. The controller has the capability of analyzing traffic and determining the best paths for applications and discrete data flows. SD-WAN solutions facilitate better circuit flexibility; thus, an organization can exploit inexpensive broadband circuits and minimize its dependence on dedicated connectivity.
Aggregating connections can save money, and ongoing analysis of expenses can equip managers with the information they need to negotiate better telecom contracts.
Many variables exist in the SD-WAN solution scenario, the first being the implementation considered alongside current telecom outlays. While cost can be a factor, it is important to consider the multitude of benefits offered by WAN, such as security, superior monitoring, and enhanced application performance.
Interested in seeing if SD-WAN can solve your networking problems? Get in touch with QOS Networks today.