Agility is one of the most important aspects of any modern network, and this is particularly true of enterprise WANs. Mobile users, cloud computing, and ever-changing security requirements demand agility and scalability. However, legacy WAN solutions have proven to be incapable of delivering the flexibility enterprises demand.
MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) simply isn’t flexible enough to keep up, and DIY and telco managed SD-WAN solutions are not equipped to efficiently meet the needs of the modern enterprise WAN.
Fortunately, cloud-native SD-WAN (a.k.a. “In-net SD-WAN”) is a modern WAN solution capable of delivering the agility enterprises demand without adding undue operational costs or complexities. Due to its advantages, many enterprises are shifting away from legacy WAN solutions and instead adopting In-net SD-WAN.
In this piece, we’ll walk through the challenges associated with legacy WAN solutions and explain how In-net SD-WAN helps address them.
The problem with legacy WAN solutions
Why is there a need for a new WAN solution? Simply put, legacy alternatives aren’t able to keep up with the demands placed on them by the modern enterprise. MPLS was useful in an era where WAN communication was largely between 2 static physical locations, and MPLS bandwidth isn’t cheap.
Attempts to make MPLS work efficiently with the mobile and cloud computing workloads that have become the norm have created a “square peg, round hole” situation. MPLS simply isn’t the right tool for the job. So much that Gartner has declared that SD-WAN is killing MPLS.
However, not all SD-WAN solutions are created equal. DIY SD-WAN solutions do not provide all the tools required to manage and maintain an enterprise WAN. This means that they inherently require investment in a non-trivial amount of additional WAN appliances.
This adds complexity, capex, and opex. Further, DIY solutions require skilled technical staff with specialized skills to maintain and operate. A topical examination of these challenges may lead you to believe that SD-WAN managed by a telco service provider is a viable alternative.
In practice however, telco-managed solutions come with the same costs and complexity, just at an additional markup. And outsourcing the WAN to a 3rd party can mean less visibility over your network.
Fortunately for enterprises, cloud-native SD-WAN is uniquely positioned to address the inflexibility of MPLS as well as the complexity of other SD-WAN solutions to deliver a holistic, reliable, and simple solution.
How does cloud-native SD-WAN differ from the alternatives?
Cloud-native SD-WAN, or In-net SD-WAN, is a cloud-based SD-WAN that offers “standard” SD-WAN functionality as well as a private backbone. Effectively, In-net SD-WAN builds on the Network as a Service (NaaS) model by offering WAN services in a way that abstracts away complexity for users.
The result is a WAN solution that minimizes customer premises equipment (CPE), improves agility, and simplifies WAN provisioning and management.
Why is this the case? Because In-net SD-WAN was built from the ground-up to leverage the full potential of the cloud. An SLA-backed global private backbone, a baked-in network security stack, and robust policy-based routing and traffic shaping features make In-net SD-WAN a compelling and affordable solution for enterprises looking to maximize the agility and performance of their WAN.
With that understanding, let’s dive into the 5 aspects that really set In-net SD-WAN apart.
By adopting a multitenant approach to infrastructure, In-net SD-WAN providers are able to benefit from economies of scale and pass that value on to users. The provider is responsible for securely providing a private network to customers and abstracting away the complexities of the underlying network infrastructure. As a result, enterprises get the benefits of a robust global network at a fraction of its cost.
One of the core benefits of any cloud service is the ability to rapidly scale up and down to meet demand. In-net SD-WAN brings this advantage to the table in the world of enterprise WAN.
Not only can users scale up and down rapidly without worrying about capex, the simplicity of In-net SD-WAN also reduces opex and speeds up WAN provisioning.
That last point on speeding up WAN provisioning leads us to velocity. Every major aspect of In-net SD-WAN is capable of moving quicker than the alternatives. For example, the multitenant and cloud based nature of In-net SD-WAN make releasing new features and functionality available almost instantaneously.
Additionally, the holistic view of the network provided by a cloud-native SD-WAN solution helps significantly reduce troubleshooting times.
As In-net SD-WAN providers offer a holistic solution “under one roof”, efficiency can be vastly improved. From a financial standpoint, 3rd party license and support costs are minimized.
Additionally, the robust private backbone offered by In-net SD-WAN leads to cost-effective alternatives to expensive MPLS links. Further, intelligent software-based monitoring helps ensure packets are routed over optimized paths.
Being cloud-based means users can securely connect to In-net SD-WAN from anywhere with an Internet connection without jumping through unnecessary hoops. This is particularly advantageous when connecting mobile users.
Additionally, In-net SD-WAN providers have a presence in or near many of the data centers where popular cloud services like Salesforce and AWS are deployed, enabling enhanced performance and reliability with those services. In short, the ubiquitous nature of In-net SD-WAN adds agility and improves performance.
Cloud-native SD-WAN offers the agility the modern enterprise needs
As we have seen, cloud-native SD-WAN is purposely built to maximize the advantages of the cloud and give enterprises the agility they demand. In a world where more and more data is bouncing back and forth from public clouds to enterprise WANs and mobile users are everywhere, this is more important than ever.
When you consider that In-net SD-WAN offers this flexibility while also delivering security and reliability, it is easy to see why so many businesses are choosing cloud-native SD-WAN solutions.