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FinXL - SD-WAN: Where does it belong in your digital transformation?


Businesses don't just operate in one location anymore. Whether your company has branches in multiple countries, or you're just spread throughout one, connecting and sharing information in an efficient and secure manner is vital. SD-WAN is the new buzzword solution to this issue, but is it all it's talked up to be?

Here's what you need to know when considering SD-WAN for your digital transformation.

What is SD-WAN?

Standing for software-defined wide-area network, SD-WAN is a virtual application developed to manage and organise WAN connections. This involves:

  • Using a centralised control function hub for optimising and directing traffic across the WAN.

  • Leveraging transport services, such as MPLS, LTE and broadband internet.

SD-WAN allows fast company network connection deployment and setup to international branches.

How does SD-WAN fit into your digital transformation?

The hype around SD-WAN is backed up when you consider the list of benefits it brings to your business. However, along with the pros come the cons, so being aware of the potential issues you'll face bringing SD-WAN into your digital transformation is essential for making the right decisions.

Pros of what it can do for your business

  • IT agility - Similar to how the cloud allows faster deployment, better scalability, and more maneuverability, SD-WAN brings these traits to the IT Department. Setting up new branches and managing access and security policies is all sped-up by using SD-WAN.

  • Centralised orchestration - The central hub involved with SD-WAN allows your IT department to easily monitor and orchestrate network traffic. Unlike MPLS, it's also possible to create configurations and policies that only need programming once and are then pushed out to all branch locations. It eliminates the need for manually setting each device up at the location, which is what MPLS requires.

  • International deployment - If your business has overseas branches, MPLS can face cost and logistic issues. SD-WAN outshines MPLS for international deployment. Setup is fast and simple, requiring only an SD-WAN device and internet link to connect your overseas office to the company WAN network.

  • Security - With the right SD-WAN setup your company can benefit from end-to-end encryption across the WAN network. Cybersecurity is a growing issue for businesses. Ensuring each part of your digital transformation meets your security needs is an essential part of the process.

Cons to be aware of for your business

  • Quality of Service (QoS) - SD-WAN is excellent at optimising and analysing what links to use for sending traffic along, and can use multiple links, split tunneling, and manages load balance. However, it is limited to the reliability of the internet connection unlike MPLS, which gives users consistent QoS.

  • Cost - A part of the hype around SD-WAN is its cost-effectiveness. Often this is based on the USA network landscape, which is different to Australia and NZ. Though overall SD-WAN and MPLS end up costing similar amounts, it's useful to be aware of this before jumping onto the SD-WAN bandwagon.

Why not both?

Your don't have to choose one or the other for your digital transformation. Hybrid-WAN offers a combination of both, allowing you to make use of the MPLS network your business already has and enhancing it by placing the SD-WAN architecture overtop of it.

If you'd like to know more about what your business needs from its digital transformation, and what network structure will optimise your company's connectivity, contact FinXL today.