SD-WAN is totally changing the rules of business by providing enterprise decision makers with the ability to transform their business model. In APAC, 63.9% of organisations are already using SD-WAN or are planning to do so. This is unsurprising given that the technology promises to deliver the agility and flexibility needed to improve collaboration, accelerate innovation and deliver a sustained service for customers.
However, the benefits of SD-WAN have often been miscommunicated or over-hyped, leading to confusion about what it can and can’t do. But, as a means of simplifying network architecture for greater predictability and control, it is a case of when, not if, your business adopts it.
With that in mind, I aim to dispel the common myths surrounding SD-WAN and discuss how it can integrate with existing infrastructures and create a platform that can help organisations drive digital transformation efforts.
Myth 1 – SD-WAN will replace MPLS
Ensuring business-critical traffic and real-time applications run uninterrupted is crucial for your business operations. For example, the speed at which your locations can communicate, and the smooth running of customer-facing applications are all important and all rely on a robust, secure network that delivers 24/7.
Some providers will have you believe SD-WAN will replace MPLS. This is not the case, rather it will change the way both MPLS and Internet connectivity combine to deliver the agile, cost-effective connectivity that businesses need.
Myth 2 – The internet is good enough
Unfortunately, you cannot rely on broadband connections alone for guaranteed performance, or Quality of Service (QoS), as once traffic is placed onto the Internet, it is at the mercy of a ‘best-effort’ connection.
However, SD-WAN-orchestrated Internet connections do have the ability to optimise performance in certain instances. For example, such as supporting lower priority services or providing backup to improve resilience, where they are appropriate to use.
Myth 3 – An SD-WAN can provide Quality of Service
Let’s be clear, QoS is only possible with an end-to-end service, delivered by the provider of the underlying transport network.
It’s true that SD-WAN can measure network performance and make policy-based routing decisions, but it cannot add QoS as an overlay onto a network. For some applications, the Internet may be good enough, but for applications such as voice, where guarantees in stability are required, only an end-to-end service will do.
Myth 4 – An SD-WAN is the same as WAN optimisation
These are not the same concept. However, SD-WAN and WAN optimisation can actually be viewed as complementary.
WAN optimisation uses techniques, such as compression and data caching, to minimise the bandwidth consumed within a WAN. On the other hand, an SD-WAN, analyses the network performance in real time, including delay, jitter and packet loss, and makes intelligent decisions to find the best available route for traffic at any point in time.
Both SD-WAN and WAN optimisation are a powerful combination of technologies to improve application performance. It is key to find the optimal solutions that will help you better understand your business applications and deliver the required business outcomes.
Did any of these surprise you? SD-WAN adoption will continue to be on the uptick as more APAC organizations embark on digital transformation journeys. It is an obvious choice at a time where employees expect intelligent connectivity at their workplaces and customers demand immediate services. SD-WAN offers a compelling value preposition of greater flexibility, reliability and security at a lower cost. Thus, it is important for businesses to fully understand the technology in order to reap the full benefits it can offer.