John Bidgood, CTO at Systal explains the benefits of SD-WAN for your business – Part I.

Over the last 18 months we at Systal have seen that developments in networking have reflected the industry trends for separating compute and storage. As such the network has tentatively moved towards software virtualisation of key network and security components using software defined networking (SDN) technology.

Requests from our clients for SDN were sporadic at best in 2017, but as we move forward to 2020 the norm. The deployment of an SD-WAN Service is the first step to clients utilising an end to end Software Defined Environment (SDE). In turn, use of an SDE can lead to the full hyperconvergence of an Enterprise’s IT infrastructure. Full hyperconvergence means more than simply traditional virtualisation of network and encompasses the consolidation of network function virtualisation (NFV) with compute and storage at the data centre and remote office/branch into a single set of consolidated and virtualised hardware platforms. We would recommend that the best possible outcome is to have a single pane of glass view, allowing you to control all these virtualised platforms from one place.

However, this is a huge exercise in services integration, and one with many steps towards success and many associated pitfalls to avoid. Even the first step of deploying SD-WAN can bring large benefits but comes with its own risks. For example, when implemented and supported correctly we have seen its potential to reduce clients’ costs by up to 30% over a traditional WAN service. It has also come with the added benefits of greater security, agility and flexibility to support “multi-cloud” especially when used in combination with traditional internet services.

SDN – An innovative approach

To maximise these benefits and provide support for long term objectives around using a Software Defined Environment, we would suggest an innovative approach is needed for the initial procurement, optimisation and support for the Software Defined Network.

In this context, we need to ask two initial questions; the first is whether the traditional model for supporting the WAN with a traditional Internet Service Provider is the right one? The second question is whether it is better to maintain a hardware virtualisation platform outside of their normal realm of control at the customer premise equipment router?

Look out for our next software defined networking blog to read Systal’s suggested answers to these questions and how to best optimise and manage your network or contact us if you have any questions.  Alternatively, have a look at our SD WAN website page for more information.