SD-WAN adoption is sharply accelerating. According to an IDG study, nearly 69% of IT professionals are either actively researching, piloting or have SD-WAN in production. That's because SD-WAN helps enterprises gain greater insight and control over the performance of their network, maximizing bandwidth resource allocation and automating many management functions. With the majority of enterprises taking an interest, IT leaders should understand which SD-WAN approaches maximize interoperability and visibility, as edge devices and their configuration play a key factor in the overall performance of the solution. Here's a quick guide.
Interoperability and SD-WAN edge devices
SD-WAN devices should be able to seamlessly communicate with other resources on your company's existing private network(s), but some SD-WAN devices may need to be implemented at every location in order to do so. Depending on how your private network and locations are set up, your SD-WAN edge devices may not communicate well with your private network and other IT infrastructure. Most SD-WAN edge devices communicate either site-to-site or site-to-cloud, which effectively 'walls them off' from much of your existing WAN infrastructure. It's essentially a new component that doesn't 'play well in your current IT sandbox'.
If you think of your corporate WAN as a sandbox, then the analogy of adding SD-WAN would be like adding a separate sandbox inside your existing sandbox. That separate, smaller SD-WAN sandbox is one that none of the other 'children' can see or play with.
As a result, you'll experience these challenges:
A lack of visibility: Some SD-WAN devices won't interoperate or provide a unified view showing how the various elements in the larger network system are working as a cohesive unit.
Insufficient management and lackluster performance: Without a single dashboard and unified control tools, network optimization is difficult because data is fragmented. IT managers won't be able to effectively troubleshoot breakdowns on the WAN. As a result, pinpointing root causes becomes an exercise of cross-examining and reconciling multiple network admin portals and vendors pointing fingers. Trying to find a straight answer that solves your problem becomes a game of frustration and time wasted.
Stymied security: Network visibility plays a large role in helping security professionals understand how data and traffic flow across the IT environment. Without it, your IT team cannot recognize lateral movements and other signature signs of an attack. Evaluating the behavior across the network as a whole becomes challenging, which decreases your security posture.
Visibility is one of the key benefits of SD-WAN, and buyers can unknowingly undermine the value of their IT investment. With interoperability, visibility and security at stake, careful design and consideration are important in creating the best solution for your IT environment.
Ensure peak visibility and performance with SD-WAN embedded in the WAN Infrastructure
One sure-fire way to maximize interoperability and visibility is to migrate to a single, software-defined network platform where SD-WAN is embedded into the fabric of the network. With these solutions, every SD-WAN instance is working on the same backbone, staying in sync and creating a single unified view of performance. With a unified global network, enterprises receive all the same benefits of an SD-WAN edge device, plus they get the inherent benefits of a network built entirely using software-defined principles:
- A single, consistent IT infrastructure that ensures service quality across the globe
- Simplified network provisioning with the freedom to mix and match any connectivity type you want for each network environment (private, direct connections to cloud providers, and public Internet connectivity)
- A limitless number of segmented virtual networks – spin up/down test environments as needed with private access
- A single online portal offering deep analytics and controls that penetrate across every WAN in the IT environment
- Easy access to a host of additional capabilities including routing, firewall, and direct cloud connections