Being called “almost as big a deal as when we went from wireline to wireless”, software-defined wide area networks are the next biggest networking trend being adopted by schools. According to an Ed Tech Magazine article, Fresno Unified School District has firm plans to deploy SD-WANs along with many others in the future.
A recently produced market guide by Gartner says 30% percent of enterprises that will use software-defined wide area networks in all of their branches by the end of 2019, up from less than 1%today. Andrew Lerner, a research director who covers networking infrastructure for Gartner, says that while SD-WANs aren’t necessarily new, they bundle existing technologies in a way that improves WAN performance. “We’re seeing that SD-WANs really make economic sense for a lot of organizations,” he says. “I think with the software-defined networking trend, we’re going to see a lot more adoption on the WAN side than we had anticipated.”
Explore the Benefits of SD-WAN
Dan Conde, an analyst who covers enterprise network technologies for the Enterprise Strategy Group, says SD-WANs provide savings through the following reductions:
- Network connections: As companies move to the cloud and Internet-based technologies, it doesn’t make sense to link costly multiprotocol label-switching lines to data centers. Reducing the number of lines and moving to less expensive Internet connections saves money.
- Branch hardware: Virtual deployments eliminate the need for new hardware such as firewalls and virtual private networks in branches.
- Site visits: All SD-WAN technologies are developed for remote management, which requires far fewer site visits by IT staff.
- Data center equipment: Some SD-WAN services can also be hosted in the cloud, so organizations don’t need as much on-premises equipment in data centers.
According to Gartner, a software-defined wide area network must meet the following four requirements:
1. Replacement: Offers a lightweight replacement for traditional WAN routers and is agnostic to WAN transport technologies
2. Efficiency: Allows for load sharing of traffic across multiple WAN connections
3. Simplicity: Automatically simplifies the complexity associated with management, configuration and orchestration of WANs
4. Security: Provides secure virtual private networks, integrates additional network security services and offloads Internet traffic closer to the edge of the network
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