Enterprises hearing of the advantages of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) are focused on increased visibility, better performance, and the ability to bring a new branch online quickly. These benefits can lead CIOs to introduce implementation as a priority in their digital transformation plan.
However, SD-WAN is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are three basic ways to structure SD-WAN, and each has unique advantages and disadvantages that will significantly impact whether your company enjoys the cost savings, performance, and visibility you’re hoping to capture. Here are the three basic architectures:
On-premise only: In this architecture, the SD-WAN is provided via a “box” that is plugged in at the company’s headquarters, providing internet traffic management to each site. This on-site box is not connected to a cloud gateway. This option is best for companies that host all of their applications on-site. If your company doesn’t utilize cloud applications, the addition of a cloud gateway would unnecessarily increase costs.
The benefits of this option include its low cost, the ability to manage real-time internet traffic, multi-circuit load balancing, and improved disaster recovery.
Cloud-enabled: This SD-WAN option includes a box that’s on-site but also connected to a cloud gateway. The architecture offers some of the same benefits as on-premise SD-WAN, such as real-time traffic shaping and multi-circuit load balancing, and there’s also improved performance and the reliability of cloud software. This option works best for companies that use bigger public cloud environments. It’s common for enterprises to use SD-WAN for cloud applications and then run on-site applications through their multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network.
The benefits of cloud-enabled SD-WAN are the same as those of the on-premise SD-WAN configuration, but it also improves the performance of cloud-based applications.
Cloud-enabled plus backbone: This takes cloud-enabled SD-WAN to a whole new level. In this architecture, an on-site SD-WAN box connects the enterprise to the SD-WAN provider’s nearest work point of presence, where the enterprise’s traffic goes on the provider’s fiber optic network backbone.
The private backbone allows WAN traffic to stay at low levels of latency, packet loss, and jitter. The performance of all network traffic is improved, especially items like video and voice. This option also improves the performance and reliability of major cloud applications because the backbone is connected to major cloud application providers.
It is the best fit for enterprises that want to eliminate MPLS entirely that also don’t want their internet traffic going over the public internet.
The right SD-WAN architecture often comes down to preferences, need, and budget. Contact us at Truth Comm about the best way to balance these considerations for your clients.