SD-WAN 101

What is it?

There are now several vendors who have rolled out viable SD-WAN solutions, and and most of these use a similar approach. WAN edge devices are deployed to branch offices. These are centrally managed, and the branch offices each make logical connections with the other WAN edge devices over the WAN. Each connection allows for a secure path.
The main thrust of the tech is that device-based Command Line Interface (CLI) configuration is dropped in favor of controllers that use graphical user interfaces (GLI). Basically, network traffic is managed centrally, and quality of service, application performance, security and use policy are defined at the network level. It’s actually very elegant and cool. 

Is this going to be a big deal?

In a word — yes. Once you have played around with it and seen just how much time and effort it will save you, it is hard to go back. The cost savings — especially at an enterprise level — are just frosting on that cake. Industry analysts expect most mid-sized companies will have moved over to one SD-WAN solution or another by 2020. 
Aren’t these just physical devices that are automating the creation of virtual private networks in lieu of hardware firewalls?
Yes. From an academic perspective, the biggest players in networking (think Facebook big) are doing real innovation in software-defined WAN. If you’re curious about this, meet up with one of our engineers for a beer and nerd out. Seriously, we love to chat about this stuff even more than we like selling it. 

SD-WAN is almost certainly worth considering

Our preferred solution leverages the Velocloud solution — which uses existing network connections, DIA or even basic (cheap) broadband — and lays a virtual private network across it. This can save you a bundle on your network services spend. All traffic is encrypted, and traffic stay secure on private/direct as well as public internet paths. 
Additionally, network management becomes much less laborious. You have access to real-time performance and usage information. Optimizing performance is easy. Data, VOIP and video can all utilize the same backbone.

Scalability is another big advantage

Companies don’t stay the same size. You may consolidate or expand the number of branch offices you’re responsible for. SD-WAN is absolutely a godsend when growth and movement are uncertain. 
For one thing, as mentioned above, you can use any number of affordable (or Cadillac) transport methods or providers. If reliability and bandwidth needs are lower at a given location, use the money you’ll save on capital expenditures and direct fiber or a redundant connection elsewhere. There are fewer physical devices to spend money on for network monitoring, which is another point of cost savings. Moreover, as cloud processes become more and more important, the optimized network performance and versatility of the solution makes a lot of sense. 
Plus, obviously, the new sites can be brought on net much more rapidly. As long as there is some form of internet access is available, you can bring a site onto your network very rapidly, without waiting for a buildout.

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Let’s chat about SD-WAN! Hopefully, this short introduction to the topic has been helpful, but the really interesting conversation happens when we can talk about what you need from your network. We pride ourselves on being flexible and responsive, and unlike the other guys, it’s always easy to get an engineer on the phone to talk shop.  You can reach us at  855-GO-FIBER or