Why SD-WAN enables digital transformation

In discussions about digitalisation, decision-makers usually assume quite naturally that “everything is already networked”. What they like to overlook: In the context of clouds, mobile work, digital business models and the transfer of huge amounts of data, networking in the business environment must meet much more complex requirements than before. For comprehensive, secure digitisation, companies can't help but rethink and simplify the network and its management. SD-WAN is an essential building block for this.

High stability, performance and reliability at the lowest possible cost - until recently, these aspects were the focus whenever companies networked their locations and devices. With the growing number of mobile employees, home offices and the advent of new business models based on consumption and use, flexibility, speed and security are now coming into greater focus. At the same time, expectations regarding network availability and performance are increasing: Anyone who works with a cloud service, relies on real-time data from other branch offices for their work or has to access company data in the field will experience immediate and painful performance and availability bottlenecks.

In other words: Agility is the trump card. But that's not what classic network architectures are designed to do. They are designed as more rigid entities that connect computers, servers, and network components, with connectivity mostly based on long-term planning. Connections between sites are provided by a virtual private network (VPN) or multi protocol label switching (MPLS) network. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, but they have one thing in common: They can no longer cope with current developments.

They overwhelm the IT department because every change requires extensive manual intervention, which can also increase error sources. The time required is high and is met with a lack of understanding in the specialist departments. Because their focus is not on the network, but on the business applications and services that are operated over it - and as quickly, flexibly and easily as possible.  

The up-to-date view of the network is application-centric

This is where SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Network) comes into play. With this technology, communication relationships are no longer defined exclusively as network connections from A to B, but in a holistic and application-related way. The focus is on which applications must be available in which quality for which users. The business benefits of the corporate network are then immediately apparent via the central control of configurations, monitoring and performance via SD-WAN. The extensive automation of commissioning and operation that is common with SD-WAN, reduces the effort and error rate while increasing flexibility.