When evaluating the use of traditional data center and branch-centric WAN architecture, it becomes clear that this approach to connectivity leaves much to be desired for today’s global enterprises. Given the widespread proliferation of enterprise cloud applications, IoT and the growing need for effective wireless connectivity, these legacy network architectures simply fall short.

During the webinar, “SD-WAN: A Critical Step in the Journey of Transforming the Network for the Cloud Era,” presented by GTT Communications and International Data Corporation (IDC), Samir Desai, director of product management, GTT, and Rajesh Ghai, research director, telecom and carrier IP networks, IDC, explored the ways in which Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) implementation can address the common connectivity pain points of enterprises, delivering optimal network performance, security, reliability and availability.

Before the introduction of an SD-WAN solution, a hybrid WAN implementation is a necessary step toward developing an effective networking mode. Hybrid architectures combine a variety of internet access methods to solve many of the challenges associated with cloud connectivity. Unfortunately, hybrid WAN solutions on their own present multiple issues. Managing disparate WAN solutions such as MPLS, internet access and wireless access within a common network environment is highly complex. In addition, this model introduces a number of security challenges, and the static-nature of the networks makes it particularly difficult to implement dynamic routing of traffic to achieve load-sharing across available connections. By incorporating network-centric SD-WAN solutions into the hybrid WAN model, IT managers can address these concerns and achieve more effective network connectivity.

“If you start off with a basic hybrid WAN solution, and you overlay a network-centric SD-WAN platform, that software-defined experience logically simplifies the typical WAN underlay that exists beneath it,” explained Mr. Desai during the webinar. “So, in effect, you’re taking away the complexities of having to manage this ‘spaghetti bowl’ of physical line connectivity while logically abstracting a Software-Defined WAN away from the physical infrastructure.”

SD-WAN architecture combines automated software-based intelligence with hybrid WAN topologies at each connected site, allowing users in a distributed enterprise to experience superior performance, security, reliability and availability for their end-to-end application environment. SD-WAN implementations incorporate multiple components, including a centralized, application-based business policy orchestrator, analytics for application and network visibility, a secure tunnel overlay that abstracts underlying networks, and an SD-WAN gateway that supports routing interoperability with non-SD-WAN-enabled sites.

“SD-WAN orchestrates diverse access connectivity solutions, bringing them together into a more unified network experience,” continued Mr. Desai. “IT managers gain the ability to manage the performance of their applications, whilst also gaining a deeper understanding of how the underlying network performance impacts the application environment.”

With this level of visibility, it is now possible to dynamically direct traffic through the most optimal WAN link, thus enhancing the operating efficiency of the overall network. With SD-WAN implementations, enterprises can directly map end-user expectations around application performance to the network without having to actually manage the underlying physical WAN connectivity itself.

GTT’s SD-WAN service delivers enhanced application performance, end-to-end network security and utilizes cost-effective bandwidth. Full application visibility is supported through the GTT portal, including the prioritization of mission-critical applications over the corporate network. The service integrates with GTT’s wholly owned and operated Tier 1 IP network to facilitate efficient internet access to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications worldwide. The service is available across the global network and leverages GTT’ s extensive regional and local access partners worldwide.

To view the webinar in its entirety, click here.