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The Software-Defined WAN Architecture

Network World paper highlights the major challenges in the WAN

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network world logoBy Linda Musthaler, Principal Analyst with Essential Solutions Corp.

In April 2014, Zeus Kerravala wrote in Network World that the software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is now a business imperative. He cites several reasons why the time is right for companies to reconsider their WAN architecture.

First of all, cloud and mobile computing, as well as applications such as video and voice over the network, are creating vastly different traffic patterns than the old style of client/server computing. Next, business agility is the enterprise mantra today, but traditional WAN architectures are too inflexible to enable the much-needed application agility. And last but not least, the complexity of the WAN makes it increasingly difficult to make even small changes in a reasonable timeframe.

I’m going to toss one more factor into the argument: cost. The cost to contract with a service provider to set up a WAN link for a branch location can be quite expensive. For example, a company can pay roughly $200 a month for 1 Mbps of link capacity. CIOs that have many branch locations claim telecom costs and transmission costs can consume a significant part of their networking budget…

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