by Erik Fritzler, efritzler.com
The typical branch office consists of a mix of routers, WAN optimizers, switches, firewalls, wireless, and servers. That’s a pretty considerable investment just in hardware to bring up a moderately sized office. When you add in the costs and labor associated with procurement, installation, and configuration it is easy to see how the bill can equal tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars per location.
SD-WAN offers considerable benefits when compared to the traditional approach to the branch office network. A pair of routers, a firewall, IDS/IPS, and WAN optimizers can be replaced with a single appliance, or if a high availability solution is required, a pair of appliances.
The benefits of an SD-WAN solution in this type of environment are quite compelling when you consider that, depending on the vendor, it can all be done for a few hundred dollars per month. You have a secure and robust solution that allows for true application flow analysis, dynamic traffic allocation, full QoS, and resiliency.
How many times has your network team been called out to investigate poor application performance on the legacy technologies that are present in most branch office locations? As businesses have begun to ingest SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS solutions, the problems have grown more complicated and mean times to resolution have sky rocketed. Take the typical Office365 solution that is becoming more prevalent. Manually configuring traditional routers and firewalls to allow the solution have been troublesome due to the fact that hosting IP’s change periodically. Deeper intelligence is becoming required to understand these usability issues.
SD-WAN offers a way to make policy based decisions on the application, not the port and IP that traditional firewalls have. This intelligence to see how the applications behave and react is required to address the rapidly changing landscape of the branch office network.
When you take a look at the bandwidth considerations for a typical deployment, SD-WAN offers another competitive edge to the traditional technologies. 10 Mbps of MPLS or VPLS bandwidth can easily run upwards of $6,000 per month. By utilizing commodity internet circuits, you can get up to 2Gbps of traffic capacity, depending on your local ISP’s capabilities. This will cost you maybe a few hundred per month. The needs for traditional WAN optimization appliances vanishes due to the abundance of bandwidth available.
Higher bandwidth, policy driven configuration, reduced CAPEX costs, secure, sounds to me like a recipe for success.