Greg Hatfield
Greg Hatfield Executive Business Unit Head: SDN

Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is an application technology that connects enterprise networks such as branch offices and data centres over large distances.

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SD-WAN uses policy-based rules to orchestrate applications routing in the cloud. It is a powerful, flexible technology that offers companies improved bandwidth economics, application prioritisation and operational efficiency.

Any organisation with a distributed workforce can benefit greatly from its usage. SD-WAN is still a fairly new technology in South Africa, so before you dive into it, we would like to outline which implementation option is best suited to your WAN and business requirements.

There are a few reasons to closely scrutinise how to work towards SD-WAN for your business:

  • The “application awareness” that is promised (the ability of a network to maintain up-to-date information about applications that connect to and optimise system functioning) can’t fully compensate for the performance of the underlying network.
  • Integration with existing MPLS or other VPN solutions can be a challenge – not everything will be appropriate on SD-WAN.
  • Obtaining secure and enterprise-grade access to hyper-scale cloud providers is not straightforward.
  • Managing the plethora of access mediums and carriers is a massive challenge in an ever-changing broadband landscape.
  • Wide area networks are not plug-and-play solutions. Just because devices are cheap and can be centrally configured does not mean that the network design and the business requirements are less complex. The need for a mature managed-service operating model is as compelling as ever.
  • Would you be happy with one company running your MPLS network and another your SD-WAN overlay network? They are both components of one composite WAN solution – without one provider, the finger-pointing will start immediately.

While SD-WAN has undoubted benefits, it must be properly implemented. This is the service you are guaranteed with IS:

  • Integration into our MPLS VPN and a managed migration of appropriate applications and/or branches.
  • Pre-integrated access to Azure, AWS, IS Cloud and Dimension Data’s MCP platforms.
  • High-speed access to IS data centres and a multitude of hosted applications residing there – private and public.
  • Improved application performance over IS’s vast private MPLS and Internet infrastructure.
  • Reporting and management tools on ClientZone, alongside other IS solutions.
  • Security features ranging from built-in capabilities for simple requirements, to integrated solutions with market-leading tier-1 offerings such as IS’ managed firewall solution based on Fortigate.
  • Concentration hubs in IS’ Points of Presence for regional traffic management and multi-service integration.
  • A single interface to manage multiple underlying SD-WAN technology solutions.
  • Carrier Management Services from IS to compare, procure and manage last mile solutions that will be fit for purpose.
  • Agnostic edge computing platform that will allow multiple Virtual Network Functions to operate on one device.

Unlock superior IT agility

Not every attribute is relevant for every company, but that’s the point – you need to ask the right questions and get answers before you’re in a position to make the best choice for your business.

SD-WAN offers many choices and with the right provider, you can successfully prioritise application and traffic flows, reduce the number of on-premise devices, and manage the services deployed at any given branch. When it’s done correctly, it will translate into lower capital expenditure and operating expenses. We provide  visibility into your application performance so you can optimise your end-user experience.

CloudWAN is a unified SD-WAN solution on a single device that leverages multiple public and private Internet links to ensure traffic is routed with maximum efficiency and minimum cost.

CloudWAN can anticipate your future business needs. Find out how by reading our e-book Making the Business Case for CloudWAN.

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