Jun 10, 2014
I’ve done a number of blogs recently on the topic of WAN evolution. In them, I tried to make the case that a software-defined WAN was a good alternative to a traditional WAN. I’m changing my stance on this now and stating that the software-defined WAN should be the only type of wide area network that companies should even consider today. The fact is, legacy WANs simply don’t cut it anymore, and organizations that do not make this shift quickly will eventually have a WAN that’s the biggest barrier to business innovation.
There are a number of reasons why I feel the shift to a software-defined WAN is a necessary today:
A software-defined WAN can abstract the functions of the WAN up from the actual physical network and allow for business policies to dictate change. The WAN can then shift from simply being something that connects locations to other locations to a business asset that connects users to applications.
Additionally, the software-defined WAN enables businesses to shift to a hybrid network where the traditional MPLS network can be augmented, or even replaced, with lower-cost Internet connections — or even LTE connections for those that want to leverage high speed wireless technologies — without any kind of degradation in performance.
It seems we’ve been talking about evolving the WAN for years, but prior to the rise of mobile and cloud computing, transforming the WAN was definitely more of a “nice to have”. Given the changes in IT and the focus on business agility, however, it’s time to make the WAN more agile as well. Remember, you’re only as agile as your least agile component and that, today, is the WAN.