Understanding SD-WAN Architecture - A Deep Dive Into Its Framework

Companies rely on remote workers, and keeping them connected can be challenging. But when connectivity suffers, productivity plummets.

SD-WAN offers a better way. This networking technology converges access and security services such as CASB, FWaaS and Zero Trust into a single software platform.

It creates a WAN transport agnostic overlay network and provides centralized control, simplifying branch office service deployment.

Policy-Based Routing

The SD-WAN architecture uses centralized management to steer traffic securely and intelligently across the WAN. This ensures consistent application performance, improves network security and resiliency, and simplifies branch office connectivity to cloud applications. It also reduces total costs and provides the network agility required to support business initiatives.

Replacing expensive MPLS circuits with cheaper broadband Internet or cellular options in an SD-WAN is possible. Link-bonding technology can connect multiple diverse transport mediums, such as MPLS, DIA, or LTE.

In addition to enabling business-critical applications to function seamlessly over the WAN, a business-driven SD-WAN platform offers advanced security capabilities, such as a next-generation firewall and a secure web gateway. This allows centralized configuration of security policies that are then pushed to all edge devices, eliminating the need for individual design on a device-by-device basis.

Moreover, it can provide direct Internet access to the cloud at each branch, saving bandwidth that would otherwise be backhauled to the data center. This feature also avoids the need for VPN and improves performance by reducing latency.

Virtual Edge

By understanding what is SD-WAN, network teams can intelligently streamline communications from distributed IoT (Internet of Things) edge devices to a centralized data center using an SD-WAN architecture. This helps reduce operational costs, enhance performance and ensures real-time visibility.

The second layer of an SD-WAN architecture focuses on the management plane. This involves a centralized controller acting as the entire system’s brains. It collects network information from vEdge routers and delivers it to a central system. It also allows the network administrator to build and push policies to thousands of routers from a single screen.

SD-WAN architecture is cloud-ready, meaning it can directly link an enterprise’s private networks and apps hosted in public and private cloud environments. This eliminates backhaul penalties and provides improved WAN performance.

It also allows an organization to use broadband Internet or 5G wireless connections to connect remote offices while preserving bandwidth for critical applications that must have low latency. It can also help enterprises save money using a single connectivity strategy that utilizes private and public network services.

WAN Optimization

Many businesses that suffer from slow applications believe that the answer is to buy more bandwidth. However, recklessly spending money on bandwidth wastes cash that could be better spent on WAN optimization.

WAN optimization consists of several network infrastructure technologies, including traffic shaping, data deduplication, data compression, VPN tunneling, data caching and more. These software-driven tools enable network administrators to control how data moves across their WANs, so they can prioritize critical business applications and reduce latency.

GFI Software’s intelligent WAN optimization is a key component of the SD-WAN architecture, which allows you to connect branch offices to central servers and cloud platforms with performance that surpasses traditional MPLS connections. The technology uses overlay tunnels to monitor, remember, learn and react to network traffic in real-time.

This enables you to optimize certain types of application flow, such as live video or chat applications, on-demand and at the packet level. The result is faster file transfer speeds, improved performance for critical apps and lower costs.

Load Balancing

Backhauling all traffic to headquarters in traditional WAN architecture introduces latency and reduces application performance. A basic SD-WAN can solve this problem by implementing link bonding, which combines multiple Internet connections. The result is more reliable connectivity and better application performance.

But even this solution has its limitations. If one of the backup connections fails, your applications may lose connection. That’s why you need more comprehensive network recovery options.

An advanced SD-WAN provides load balancing that optimizes your application traffic for performance and security. This way, your business can continue to run despite losing the connection to your primary data center or cloud provider.

In addition, SD-WAN offers centralized networking and service orchestration via a single-pane-of-glass management interface. This enables zero-touch deployment and automates onboarding new sites and routing logic changes. This type of network automation enables agility, scalability and bandwidth efficiency while reducing IT labor costs.

Enhanced Security

By deploying secure connections to SaaS, IaaS and cloud platforms, SD-WAN ensures that data cannot be intercepted to and from the cloud. This reduces the risk of security breaches and other cyber attacks, improving network security.

SD-WAN also enables organizations to decrease their dependence on costly MPLS circuits by sending low-priority data over lower-cost public internet links while reserving private connections for higher-priority traffic. This reduces cost, improves application performance, and reduces resiliency and latency.

Using a centralized controller, SD-WAN can automatically redirect traffic to the best available path based on the business intent, optimizing application performance and increasing bandwidth efficiency. This improves application resiliency and agility.

In addition, deploying new sites is accelerated with SD-WAN as opposed to traditional WAN architectures that require service providers to provision lines, which can take days or more. Additionally, many SD-WAN solutions offer zero-touch provisioning that eliminates the need for on-site IT expertise to configure networking equipment manually. This significantly cuts deployment times and improves IT productivity.