As enterprise WANs become more costly and complex, a growing number of organizations are turning to next-generation networks to keep their data lanes running at peak performance. Leading this charge is the software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), which decouples the WAN’s control plane from network traffic and makes it programmable.
Organizations of all types can take advantage of SD WANs’ automation capabilities by programming them to intelligently route traffic over a mix of terrestrial and wireless technologies – such as public internet, private MPLS and 4G LTE – based on the application. Key benefits include:
- Easy configuration: Rather than working directly with routing protocols, the IT team simply needs to tell the SD-WAN application how to handle certain traffic.
- Lower cost: Because an SD-WAN can dynamically adapt to changing network conditions, low-cost broadband options are more feasible.
- Flexibility: An SD-WAN can be reconfigured much faster than a traditional WAN, making it highly adaptable to the needs of different businesses.
This simplified, cost-effective approach to WAN is catching on fast. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 30% of enterprises will have deployed SD-WAN technology, up from less than 1% in 2015.
Benefits of a Managed SD-WAN
With a centrally managed SD-WAN architecture, IT teams can build a better WAN from the outset. The ability to augment or replace MPLS connections with broadband internet services can lower WAN costs by up to 90 percent.
It can also dramatically lower operational expenditure by giving IT operators the ability to add new network locations to the WAN within hours rather than weeks. The EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution, for example, employs a “plug and play” deployment model that can automatically add new physical branches and cloud-based IaaS services into the WAN. IT teams can quickly effect configuration updates to all WAN appliances with a single click.
This type of SD-WAN also integrates routing, basic firewalling, 256-bit encryption and WAN optimization. As a result, internet-based WAN connections are both secure and reliable, and the need for expensive, latency-adding backhaul WAN connections is drastically reduced.
China Telecom partnership with Silver Peak
To help address the connectivity, performance and security requirements of its international clients, China Telecom recently announced a formal partnership with Silver Peak, a global leader in broadband and hybrid WAN solutions.
China Telecom chose Silver Peak’s EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution based on its complete, single-device architecture. This will allow China Telecom to serve multinational clients cost-effectively while meeting their unique application service level agreements (SLAs). It provides seamless integration with China Telecom’s NetCare monitoring and management platform, and customers can also opt into Silver Peak’s Unity Boost performance pack, which accelerates latency-sensitive applications and reduces data duplication across the network.
Silver Peak pivoted to SD-WAN as its flagship offering in mid-2015, and now has more than 300 clients for its Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution. Although not typically viewed as a full replacement for WAN routers, Silver Peak can provide that capability.
With a shared vision of SD-WAN replacing traditional WAN in the future, China Telecom and Silver Peak aim to bring secure managed services to enterprises and organizations across North America and APAC.