SD-WAN is getting a lot of “Buzz” right now, so I thought I’s give a quick rundown of exactly what it is and why it’s cool.
What is it?
Essentially SD-WAN is a VPN solution that connects all your WAN nodes (Remote offices) much like a traditional VPN.
The main difference is that packets are routed between sites and connections based on APPLICATION information, i.e is this packet a voice packet, video, or is it Citrix? So information from layers 4-7 of the OSI model is used to route the packet instead of traditional routing protocols (Layer 3).
Above diagram is from Cisco’s IWAN platform.
Do I want it today?
If you only have one connection at each office, then SD-WAN will give little benefit except for QoS and WAN optimisation, and it may be an expensive QoS ‘black box’.
To be really useful, each office would have to have a main connection and a cheaper ‘backup’ Internet connection *with a different provider* so traffic can be routed appropriately.
There are a lot of Vendors out there just now, and being a bit of a Cisco house here, we were waiting to see how this developed, and following Cisco’s acquisition of Viptela, it looks as though their SD-WAN tech will be integrated in the traditional Cisco ISR 43XX shortly, so we are very keen to try this out! Cisco’s earlier IWAN effort already looks to be ‘dead’ development wise, so this goes to show how quickly this tech is moving…