Software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) technology is forecast to double in market size in each of the next three years. Sixty-four percent of US companies are planning to implement or expanding implementation from a traditional WAN to an SD-WAN solution in the next 12 months, according to Forrester Research. A report from IDC indicates that demand for more agile networks will lead to 90 percent compound annual growth in SD-WANs to 2020.

Those are impressive growth figures, so why is SDN-WAN becoming so popular? A number of factors are driving demand – the growing levels of mobility, the drive for digital transformation, the increasing dependence on cloud services, and the need to scale resources for the Internet of Things (IoT).

SDN-WAN helps network administrators meet these challenges by virtualizing their networking hardware to increase agility, achieve significant cost savings and gain other benefits. The aim is to create a digitally-ready network that can adapt to changing demands.

Reduced Network Infrastructure Costs

Connectivity costs are a key target. Traditional approaches to WAN connectivity such as leasing MPLS circuits or building dedicated VPNs have proved expensive. Over-provisioning WAN connections to ensure network reliability and availability adds further costs.

SD-WANs can protect investment in existing infrastructure while reducing costs. Because they are vendor-neutral, SD-WANs can work with any existing network protocol. For example, SD-WANs can aggregate traffic from both MPLS and VPN circuits and use any available route, with no need to over-provision the network.

Improved Access to Cloud Services

Hosting applications and services in both premise and cloud data centers? SD-WAN provides a solution that is efficient and scalable. SD-WAN works with Internet services as well as other networks, so it can optimize connections to both cloud and premise services. The combination of cloud services and a scalable network helps make the business more agile and adaptable to change. By optimizing the connection, administrators can ensure the best performance from cloud services such as Office 365 or SalesForce.

Greater Visibility and Control

SD-WANs can improve the availability of services for users by providing higher levels of control and visibility over all network resources.  The technology incorporates intelligent path control. This automatically selects the fastest route for different types of traffic and prioritizes mission-critical data or applications such as voice. This ensures users can access their services and applications with minimal delay, improving the user experience.

Faster Service Rollout

SD-WANs simplify and speed up network changes by eliminating manual processes and reducing the risk of error. The controller uses a process called abstraction to translate complex rules and policies behind the scenes. The technology optimizes the network so that it can respond efficiently to changing conditions and scale up or down in line with demand.

Key to Data center Transformation

The network will be key to successful digital transformation in the data center. It will allow data center teams to adopt a variety of cloud services with a network solution that supports improved agility, flexibility, visibility and security, while controlling operating costs.

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