What is SD-WAN?
Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) applies software-defined networking (SDN) concepts to wide area network (WAN) connections. SD-WAN technology abstracts traffic management and monitoring from network hardware and applies them to individual applications to achieve improved app performance, deliver high-quality user experiences over geographically dispersed locations, and simplify the deployment of wide-area and cloud-access networks.
How does SD-WAN work?
Modern enterprises rely on wide area networks to support an increasing number of business-critical applications, such as virtual desktops, VoIP and video conferencing platforms, ERP and CRM systems, and other enterprise or cloud-based apps. These applications often are bandwidth-intensive and demand high reliability and quality of service. When they slow down for even a few seconds, employees notice, and productivity suffers.
The traditional way to address WAN constraints and meet performance and reliability requirements is to upgrade network bandwidth. But this isn’t cost-efficient and doesn’t prioritize mission-critical applications. It also doesn’t address the changing nature of applications and data, which are increasingly located in public and private clouds.
SD-WAN technology allows you to create a hybrid WAN architecture that binds multiple MPLS, mobile, and broadband paths together to provide a single, logical, virtualized path that can dynamically adapt to network conditions. It also enables priprioritization decisions for each application using very granular application classification to ensure that the highest-priority applications always perform extremely well. As the next-generation alternative to WAN optimization, SD-WAN technology addresses evolving application and branch infrastructure requirements.
SD-WAN solutions offer many benefits to meet the demands of modern enterprise networks, including:
- Improved application performance and quality of service for remote and branch workers
- Reduced WAN costs and scaled capacity through the use of lower-priced broadband and mobile connections
- Increased flexibility to prioritize business-critical applications over other network traffic
- Improved business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities that maintain connectivity even during multiple network failures
- Increased connection security across the WAN as applications and data migrate to the cloud
- Reduced branch networking complexity by consolidating services into an integrated WAN edge appliance and centralizing management and policy definition
Changing business needs are driving network evolution. Traditional WANs were not designed for today’s demands for increased flexibility, responsiveness, security, and control. SD-WAN technology is an effective and economical solution that addresses these challenges. The SD-WAN vendor market is growing quickly and includes offerings from large networking vendors, focused WAN specialists and venture-funded startups. It is estimated that the SD-WAN market will be worth more than $6 billion in 2020.
Learn about Citrix SD-WAN
Increase WAN throughput and reliability while improving the application experience for branch and mobile users with Citrix SD-WAN.
- Citrix SD-WAN for Software-Defined WAN
Additional SD-WAN education resources:
- Building a Software-defined WAN with Citrix SD-WAN
- SD-WAN feature checklist
- SD-WAN: The answer to business networking demands
- The power of the next-generation WAN