What is SD-WAN?
An SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network (WAN) is an application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology that provides software-based control over wide area network connections. SD-WAN technology simplifies the management and operation of a WAN by decoupling (separating) the networking hardware from its control mechanism. It essentially “virtualizes” the WAN so that you can configure the network and route traffic without dealing with proprietary hardware connections.
SD-WAN technology greatly simplifies wide area network management. SD-WAN tools typically provide cloud-based tools to automatically route network traffic among data centers, branch offices, and the public cloud. With SD-WAN, network configurations changes such as giving a particular location more bandwidth or changing security policies can be done via easy-to-use software rather than by sending technicians on-site to each physical location.
Key components of an SD-WAN include:
- Ability to route traffic over your existing network connections with support for multiple network technologies including MPLS, Internet broadband, fiber, LTE, and DSL.
- Automatic failover of network connections.
- Ability to dynamically change network paths to optimize network traffic loads.
- Segmentation to automatically priority and route network traffic based on its source or type.
- A visual management console that lets administrators manage the network from a central location without dealing with physical network connections.
- Zero-touch provisioning of new branches and locations.
- Support for VPNs.
Why SD-WAN is Important
Ensuring fast, reliable connectivity across distributed networks can be complex and expensive. SD-WANs let you build higher-performance WANs using lower-cost, commercially available internet access, enabling businesses to replace more expensive private WAN connection technologies such as MPLS.
SD-WAN delivers key benefits such as enhanced visibility, scalability, performance, and control. Unlike MPLS, SD-WAN comes with no bandwidth penalties. Customers can upgrade easily by adding new links, with no changes necessary to the infrastructure or network. Both broadband internet and 4G LTE connections are less expensive than MPLS, so you can choose those links for certain types of lower-priority traffic, instead of the expensive MPLS network.
To see how much money you can save using SD-WAN technology compared to MPLS, try the Barracuda MPLS Savings Calculator.
How Barracuda Can Help
The Barracuda CloudGen Firewall combines a comprehensive set of advanced security features with capabilities that support and optimize SD-WAN. Traditional SD-WAN devices only deal with network routing and require you to purchase separate firewalls, often from different vendors, in order to provide network security. Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls are all-in-one devices that combine both products into a single package — a cloud-generation network firewall to provide security and an SD-WAN controller to provide cost-effective connectivity.
Barracuda CloudGen Firewall makes it easy to create secure pathways across multiple WAN connections and multiple carriers, minimizing administrative overhead while optimizing your cost structures. Advanced load sharing lets you distribute encrypted VPN tunnels across multiple WAN connections simultaneously. Built-in compression, caching, and WAN optimization technologies significantly increase your available bandwidth. These capabilities reduce your need for expensive leased lines, consolidate multiple security functions into a single device, and create a unified management framework — all of which results in significant cost savings for your organization.