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Advantages of SD-WAN | disadvantages of SD-WAN

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Networking). It mentions SD-WAN advantages or benefits and SD-WAN disadvantages or drawbacks.

What is SD-WAN?

Introduction:
SD-WAN separates functionality of networking devices into control plane and data plane. As we know control plane is responsible for signaling traffic and routing decisions where as data plane carriers application and user data. Unlike traditional WAN devices where each instance of data plane contains its own control plane, in SD-WAN one logical instance of control plane serves multiple instances of data plane (typically switches, routers). This separation makes programming and controlling of all the transport mediums easier.

SD-WAN is a technology which distributes traffic between branch offices and data center sites via most appropriate transport mediums using software defined networking SDN) concepts. Hence SD-WAN is considered to be transport-agnostic.

SD-WAN

Following are the silent features of SD-WAN system.
• It uses centralized control plane based architecture. Control plane takes care of larger and diverse set of data plane components.
• It uses standard Open Flow Protocol. It enables the communication between control plane and various data plane components. The company by name Viptela has developed OMP protocol specifically developed for SD-WAN system. Viptela has been acquired by Cisco. OMP stands for Overlay Management Protocol. Hence protocols such as OSPF, BGP etc. are not required in SD-WAN system.
• It delivers transport independent, secure and reliable network.
• It uses standard encryption such as AES and hence delivers secure connectivity over any type of transport mediums. Some SD-WAN services also use IPsec in order to authenticate network traffic between branch offices and data center sites.
• It is easy to migrate from traditional WAN into SD-WAN using different approaches such as inline path, out of path, thin branch etc. All these approaches use BGP to interface legacy branch with SD-WAN branch.
• SD-WAN services to users include easy to use management console to manage traffic, assign policies, configure devices (switches, routers, firewalls) etc.
• SD-WAN simplifies network by automating certain tasks such as deployments, configurations and operations.
• SD-WAN improves cost effectiveness and flexibility by leveraging commercially available hardware and network devices or servers.
• Also refer difference between SD-WAN vs Traditional WAN >> for more information.

Benefits or advantages of SD-WAN

Following are the benefits or advantages of SD-WAN:
➨SD-WAN offers automatic fail over to other transport medium. For example there are three mediums connected with SD-WAN router such as DSL, fiber and LTE. If one medium say DSL fails, SD-WAN router sends traffic using any one of the other two mediums (fiber or LTE) and vice versa.
➨It offers great cost benefits due to leveraging public internet over expensive MPLS. SD-WAN sends low priority less sensitive data over cheap public internet line where as reserves private links (e.g. MPLS) for critical and time sensitive data such as VOIP.
➨Organizations already using MPLS can easily migrate to SD-WAN solutions without changing the existing MPLS network.
➨SD-WAN dynamically shifts traffic to links having good amount of bandwidth. This along with WAN optimization techniques help in improving performance of applications. Moreover it assures application performance continuity. Moreover it offers rapid deployment and automation.
➨It offers scalable secure communications over any transport.
➨It delivers efficient WAN utilization by unifying all available WAN links to deliver aggregate capacity.
➨It offers simple consolidated IP stack to the edge of the existing network. Moreover it is easy to insert SD-WAN in the existing network.
➨SD-WAN provides ability to incrementally add resources and interoperate with existing devices and circuits.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of SD-WAN

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of SD-WAN:
➨SD-WAN requires IT staff for planning, design, implementation and maintenance.
➨There is possibility of jitter and packet loss.
➨The system is not 100% immune from slow performance.
➨SD-WAN do not offer any on-site security functionality.
Also refer advantages and disadvantages of Software Defined Networking >> for more information.



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