The Benefits of Software-Defined Networking (SDN)

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By R2 Unified Technologies

Many organizations today are taking advantage of the benefits of SDN technology. Software-defined networking (SDN) makes it possible to manage networking solutions through a software level, rather than having to manually manage networking through devices such as routers and switches. 

Let's look at some core advantages of SDN vs. traditional networking solutions.

Maintenance: Lower Physical Complexity

SD-WAN technologies make it possible to simplify an organization's network architecture, reducing it to a single orchestrated layer rather than a hodgepodge of connected and integrated physical solutions. By virtualizing network architecture, organizations can better monitor and maintain their network organization, and can even offload a significant amount of work through automated processes.

Organizations do not need to concern themselves with maintaining a wide array of physical switches or routers; instead, a significant amount of networking is done through the software layer. A reduction in complexity doesn't only improve maintenance but also improves optimization and efficiency — with fewer systems that can go wrong, the organization has less to manage overall. 

Security: Granular, Centralized Control Over Access

Software-defined networking makes it far easier to secure a network, by consolidating and centralizing control and by making it easier to detect and mitigate threats and unusual networking behavior. SD-WAN solutions include built-in firewalls, artificially intelligent security solutions, and integrated security features such as encryption, sandboxing, and IPS. Though the organization may have its own internal security systems, these SD-WAN solutions provide a necessary layer of security where it's needed most: at the networking level. 

Organizations are under threat now more than ever. The average organization is going to experience a malicious attack once a year, and many, many more attacks will be attempted. Anything that can improve an organization's security is something that can, in turn, reduce downtime and mitigate the financial impact.

Costs: Reduced Capital Expenditures and Hardware Costs

Software-defined networking reduces an organization's reliance on expensive, on-prem equipment. With organizations inBusinessman drawing business plan on glass window with bokeh backgroundcreasingly operating outside brick-and-mortar locations, SD-WAN technology can help reduce their costs. SD-WAN technology is also able to reduce costs by providing direct cloud access and overall reducing reliance on external bandwidth sources. IDC research shows that one-quarter of the companies that switch to SD-WAN technology are able to save anywhere from 20 to 39 percent of their costs.

Of course, that's highly variable. Not every company is going to see such significant SDN advantages. Through a system audit, an MSP can determine how much an organization would likely be able to save by switching from hardware-controlled networking solutions to SD-WAN solutions.

Consistency: Reliable, Low Latency Content Delivery

Through SD-WAN technology, companies are able to better improve their consistency and their reliability. SD-WAN technology foremost makes it easier to manage and optimize networking solutions, thereby optimizing them and making them more efficient. This reliable, low latency content delivery also makes other areas of the organization more efficient.

Even better, SD-WAN technology can be used to control traffic, promoting the traffic that has higher levels of priority. As an example, VoIP traffic can be promoted over data traffic, to ensure that connections to customers remain clear. Organizations will have far greater levels of control over their network traffic as a whole, will be able to identify potential network traffic bottlenecks, and will be able to resolve issues faster.

Threat Mitigation: Superior Responsiveness and Detection

When issues do occur throughout an SD-WAN network, it is easier for the organization to track the issue down and respond to it. When it comes to threat mitigation, even seconds may matter. Every minute a threat is allowed across a network unchecked could be thousands or even millions of dollars of damage. Superior responsiveness means that threats can be mitigated much faster because they can be discovered much faster — next-generation AI technologies can even identify unusual behavior across a network before malicious actions are taken.

Visibility: Centralized, Consolidated Management

With a traditional networking solution, there can be a multitude of modules and systems that are all interconnected and need to be managed and maintained separately. SD-WAN technology provides a centralized, consolidated management system.

Foremost, this means that the organization only needs to check a single product dashboard to determine the state of the system. It is easier to identify potential issues and to deploy additional resources and services on the fly when everything is consolidated into a single system. This, in turn, reduces the number of administrative hours that need to be pumped into managing the system.

A consolidated system is less likely to experience issues that will go unnoticed and far more likely to be reliable. 

Outsourcing: Managed Deployment and Provisioning

A final advantage to software-defined networking is that the entirety of the system can be outsourced for development and management off-site. Managed service providers can monitor and maintain the system from afar, rather than having to send technicians on-site to manage an MPLS solution. This opens the door for organizations to outsource the entirety of their SD-WAN management to a skilled, experienced MSP. Many organizations today don't want to have to maintain internal IT staff departments and they don't want to have to manage their own networking. With an SD-WAN solution, they don't have to.

The Growth of the SD-WAN Industry

Very few organizations will find prior-year MPLS solutions superior to SD-WAN technology; the benefits of software defined networking are too clear. SD-WAN technology simply makes it easier and more efficient to manage local networks. And not only can organizations better control those networks, but they can offload the bulk of the work to a managed service provider.

Since 2008, R2 Unified Technologies has been hard at work ensuring that companies like yours have the technology they need to thrive. We believe that innovation is a culture, not an accident. Contact us today to find out more about the benefits of SD WAN technology and how we can help you.

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