SD-WAN Is Supposed to Relieve Complexity. Why Does It Have to Be So Hard?

sys admin frustrated by network complexit
sys admin frustrated by network complexit
Don’t let network complexity get you down

Reducing network complexity is one of the primary reasons why organizations implement software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions. In a recent IDC study, rapid deployment, operational efficiency and reduced complexity scored high as motivational factors for organizations considering SD-WAN deployments. The ability to simplify WAN infrastructure was a top SD-WAN use case.

In theory, SD-WAN delivers on this promise. SD-WAN sits on top of multiple WAN links, using software-driven policies to automatically select the best data transport mechanism for each application. As such, SD-WAN masks the complexity of implementing and managing an aggregate WAN and frees IT from the virtually impossible task of implementing those policies manually.

But that’s only one aspect of WAN management. Most organizations are struggling with a complex array of WAN equipment, including routers, load balancers and other gear along with firewalls and other security appliances. SD-WAN becomes yet another box IT has to deal with.

Furthermore, the cost-saving benefits of SD-WAN only manifest themselves when you connect branch locations directly to the Internet as opposed to backhauling Internet traffic to headquarters via a private circuit. With direct Internet access, security becomes an even greater concern, so additional security solutions are typically needed. The branch WAN stack grows larger, and maintaining user accounts takes more time.

And when broadband Internet links enter into the mix, IT has to worry about application performance—particularly for latency-sensitive applications such as voice and video conferencing. However, troubleshooting performance problems becomes more difficult given the fragmented nature of the WAN.

Doesn’t sound so simple, does it? Plus, you’re adding a new technology (SD-WAN) that the IT team isn’t familiar with, and changing WAN management processes.

Some organizations try to sidestep these issues by going with a managed SD-WAN solution through their telecom carrier. However, this approach increases costs and makes it harder for organizations to respond to changing business and IT requirements.

With InSpeed Quality Service (IQS), you get all of the benefits of a managed service in a carrier-independent model. Designed for rapid deployment and ease of use, IQS consists of a small onsite appliance that routes WAN traffic through a secure VPN tunnel to the InSpeed cloud. The cloud service automatically shapes the traffic entering and leaving the site, giving priority to interactive traffic such as voice and video conferencing. It also manages bandwidth utilization from end to end, ensuring optimum performance for all applications.

IQS enables secure site-to-site connectivity without the need for private circuits or complicated firewalls. It also supports multiple WAN connections for business continuity, automatically switching to a backup link while maintaining Quality of Service.

Installation of the IQS appliance is plug-and-play simple, and the cloud service does all the heavy lifting without the need for complex configuration or policy management. It’s so easy you can use it in all of your sites, including the home offices of your remote workers.

SD-WAN is supposed to relieve complexity, so many organizations are wondering why it has to be so hard. It doesn’t. IQS delivers all the benefits of SD-WAN without any management headaches.

What’s Driving SD-WAN Adoption?

cloud photo is metaphor for SD-WAN cloud tech

cloud photo is metaphor for SD-WAN cloud tech

dowload a printable PDF of this article As enterprises adopt more cloud-based services, they’re finding that their WANs aren’t up to the job. Traditionally, enterprises built their WANs using multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) services, and backhauled Internet traffic from their branch offices through their corporate data centers. While backhauling enables organizations to centralize Internet security, it creates performance problems with cloud-based services.

The rise of the cloud has contributed to the rapid growth of the software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) market, which IDC expects to reach $8 billion by 2021. IDC recently published the results of an extensive global survey of current and future enterprise plans for SD-WAN adoption. The study examines the relationship between SD-WAN and cloud services, WAN management and operational requirements, and the potential impact SD-WAN will have on overall enterprise IT efficiency.

IDC surveyed more than 1,200 midmarket and enterprise organizations worldwide to determine their needs and priorities for SD-WAN. The study found that SD-WAN enables these organizations to optimize their cloud applications and create a dynamic and secure WAN across branch locations. Enterprises said they are using SD-WAN to simplify WAN infrastructure, use multiple WAN providers and to offload non-critical business apps to broadband Internet services.

The top driver for SD-WAN adoption is “bandwidth optimization,” cited by 36 percent of survey respondents. Organizations are also looking to SD-WAN for “consistent application security” (31 percent) and “improved automation and self-provisioning” (28 percent). Faster deployment, operational efficiency and reduced IT complexity also ranked high as motivational factors for enterprises considering SD-WAN.

Small Business and SD-WAN

But what about small businesses? They have many of these same needs, and generally lack the IT resources to implement and support complicated networking equipment. Their ideal SD-WAN solution would be a plug-and-play appliance that integrates seamlessly with their existing infrastructure. Trouble is, most SD-WAN solutions are designed for large enterprises, with complicated configurations, policy definitions and management.

InSpeed is different. Plug it in, turn it on and it automatically begins streamlining the Internet, creating a self-driving WAN that eliminates management headaches. InSpeed enables organizations of all sizes—and even home office workers—to optimize interactive and cloud-based applications without breaking their budgets.

The IDC report also notes that SD-WAN allows organizations to take advantage of multiple connectivity options. The centralized controller that’s core to SD-WAN technology makes it possible to leverage a hybrid WAN that incorporates broadband, 4G/LTE and satellite services. A software overlay abstracts the complexity of the underlying networks, and application and network visibility enable intelligent path selection across WAN links.

This flexibility is a godsend for locations that lack access to reliable Internet services, as well as for temporary sites and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Multiple connections also provide a hedge against service provider outages, improving business continuity.

Of course, making all this work properly is immensely difficult. Enterprise SD-WAN solutions typically provide administrative interfaces so that network engineers can implement failover policies and control each connection. Some vendors have introduced so-called “edge” solutions that are less complex but also have fewer capabilities.
InSpeed works with any WAN connection, and makes routing decisions inside the InSpeed cloud. It adjusts to the bandwidth that’s available, ensuring top performance for voice, videoconferencing and cloud-based services.

Whether your with a small business or a large enterprise, our experts are happy to answer all your questions about SD-WAN.