How is SD-WAN different from traditional WAN technologies?

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The introduction of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) has changed the way businesses manage their data networks and the way they deliver services to users and customers. SD-WAN enables businesses to take advantage of the latest technologies such as cloud computing, virtualization, and wide area network optimization to reduce costs, improve performance, and provide better service. In this article, we will discuss how SD-WAN is different from traditional WAN technologies and what advantages it brings to a business.
Traditional WAN technologies have been the backbone of most corporate networks for decades, providing reliable and secure connections between branch offices, data centers, and headquarters. These traditional WAN technologies are reliable, but they come with a significant cost, both in terms of initial capital investments and ongoing maintenance. Furthermore, they are inflexible and difficult to update with new technologies or optimize for specific applications.

On the other hand, SD-WAN is an approach to WAN architecture that leverages software-defined networking (SDN) principles to create a more agile, secure, and cost-effective data network. Unlike traditional WAN technologies, SD-WAN is highly flexible and can be quickly updated and optimized for changing needs and applications. Additionally, SD-WAN is typically less expensive to deploy and maintain than traditional WAN technologies.

One of the key differences between traditional WAN technologies and SD-WAN is in the way these networks are built and managed. Traditional WANs rely on hardware components such as routers, switches, and firewalls to create the network and to manage the flow of data across different locations. By contrast, SD-WAN uses software-defined policies to configure and manage the network, enabling it to be modified in real-time to meet changing demands.

In addition, SD-WAN provides businesses with an increased level of visibility into their networks so they can quickly identify and address potential issues. This visibility is made possible by the software overlay which can collect and analyze network data in real-time. This allows IT departments to be much more proactive in monitoring and trouble-shooting network issues, allowing them to respond quickly and minimize outages.

Another key difference between traditional WAN and SD-WAN is in the way they connect different locations. Traditional WAN relied primarily on MPLS networks, which provided reliable and secure connections but were expensive to maintain. SD-WAN is able to leverage multiple types of networks such as broadband and cellular to create a hybrid WAN that can be optimized for different applications. This allows businesses to reduce costs by utilizing cheaper network types but still have the reliability and security of an MPLS connection.

Finally, SD-WAN enables businesses to take advantage of the latest cloud services and applications without sacrificing performance or security.SD-WAN can automatically detect and prioritize cloud traffic, ensuring optimal performance and reducing the risk of an outage.Furthermore, SD-WAN's software-defined approach makes it much easier to integrate with cloud services such as Office 365 or Salesforce, making it easier for businesses to take advantage of these services.

In conclusion, SD-WAN is a powerful tool for businesses looking to reduce costs, improve performance, and take advantage of the latest cloud applications and services. SD-WAN is significantly different from traditional WAN technologies in terms of how it's built, managed, and integrated with cloud services. It provides businesses with increased agility, visibility, and cost savings, making it an attractive option for any business looking to modernize its data network.

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