Software-defined WAN is hot, but there are misconceptions about the technology. We cut through the hype. Software-defined WAN has received a lot of buzz of late, for good reason: After all, its slogan is essentially “No more MPLS." That's enough to catch most IT pros' attention. However, one should look beyond slogans to see what the technology can actually deliver. I've spent a lot of time talking with different SD-WAN vendors to know more about the technology, their products and capabilities. I do see a lot of benefits of this technology, but at the same time I see a lot of marketing mixed with the technical stuff, promising the moon to customers. This blog, therefore, aims to clear up some misconceptions and myths about SD-WAN. But before we dig deeper, let's define what SD-WAN is. SD-WAN makes it possible to bond multiple WAN connections -- Internet, MPLS or any other transport pipe -- effectively making the best use of bandwidth and reducing dependency on expensive MPLS links. This is done by placing edge devices at customer sites that are managed centrally. Overlay tunnels are created on top of the available transport links. SD-WAN is transport agnostic, so it does not care about whether the transport is MPLS, broadband or a 4G connection. There is a direct business case here: Use the Internet pipe to deliver what the MPLS pipe would otherwise deliver. Why purchase a big pipe for MPLS when one can buy a small pipe with a parallel Internet/ broadband (best effort) link? SD-WAN will put the critical, real-time data on the MPLS link and the rest on broadband, thereby reducing the need to have a big pipe of MPLS to carry both kinds of data.
Now let’s start discussing the myths over at Network Computing here.