The software defined WAN (SD WAN)
Behind the smoke and mirrors of SD WAN
Unify Issue 4
Information Technology, a sector that already has more than a fair share of acronyms, seems to have an unquenchable thirst for creating new ones. Among those recently coined and now increasingly being used in boardrooms is SD WAN, the Software Defined Wide Area Network.
SD-WAN is being touted as the silver bullet for networking. According to the technology companies that have crowded into the technology space, it will enable enterprises right across the spectrum from government departments to commercial organisations in nearly every vertical market to do things more quickly and more efficiently.
However, the reality is much more nuanced; clouded by the smoke being blown and mirrors being angled by 40-plus vendors, all with their own particular commercial positions to defend, and so far without the emergence of any obvious leader.
Away from the hubbub, Gamma has been taking a cold hard look at SD WAN. It has upgraded and re engineered its business only data network with the latest core switches in readiness. The service will enable customers to tap into the benefits of SD WAN without exposing themselves to the risks that can attend very early adopters of leading edge technology.
What is SD WAN?
SD WAN is an acronym for software-defined networking in a wide area network (WAN). This simplifies the management and operation of a Wide Area Network by disassociating the networking components from its control mechanism.
- SD-WAN stands for Software Defined Wide Area Networking
- It is an application of SDN technology applied to WAN connections
- This technology aims to give total visibility and control over the network
Gamma sales director Alex Ayers predicts that SD-WAN will prove to be a valuable addition to the networking toolbox for many organisations, but that scale of real world deployments will be driven by use-cases, not by hype.
“The pragmatic way of thinking about SD-WAN is as an alternative way of better connecting to some applications. As more and more applications get delivered from the public cloud so will the use of SD-WAN increase, but it is by no means the universal silver bullet that some would have us believe. For every one or two organisations where it does have a strong use-case there will be others where it doesn’t.
For example, in the UK the main difference between private and public networks is an IP address as it’s largely the same underlying network. In that context, SD-WAN is less about managing infrastructure and more about managing the delivery of applications.
As more of them get served up via the public cloud rather than from private data centres, SD-WAN will allow us to dynamically change how we route traffic. For some businesses it will be an unnecessary complication, but for those where it does make sense we see it as a useful enrichment of the service we can offer our customers.”
The pragmatic way of thinking about SD-WAN is as an alternative way of better connecting to some applications, but it is by no means the universal silver bullet that some would have us believe.