SD-WAN systems have been receiving a lot of hype recently and for good reason. In fact, according to Avant Communications, SD-WAN has the highest RDI in the State of Disruption study.
SD-WAN is taking off and there are many benefits to adding an SD-WAN system to your network’s infrastructure. But, there are some myths circulating out there about what it can do versus traditional systems as well. Let’s cut through the confusion and explore five common myths about it.
SD-WAN will totally replace MPLS.
In one word, no. There is no way for SD-WAN to provide guaranteed Quality of Service (see myth #2) which means that businesses will always need reliable transportation for their data, whether it’s MPLS or another form. It will change the way that your Internet connectivity and MPLS combine to give you the connectivity to your business needs. However, as long as you need to ensure your business traffic and applications run uninterrupted, there will always be a need for MPLS.
SD-WAN can ensure Quality of Service (QoS).
This one may seem counterintuitive as one of the many benefits touted by SD-WAN enthusiasts is that they guarantee QoS by measuring packet loss, jitter, and latency and compensate for them. That is true but, and this is a big one, it only compensates for them by finding a better path. What it does is make real-time, policy-based routing decisions based on current network performance indicators. But, if there is no good path available, it cannot guarantee you QoS.
SD-WAN is the same as WAN optimization.
While these two are complementary concepts, they are not the same thing. The goal of WAN optimization is to reduce the bandwidth consumed within a WAN. This service is designed for TCP traffic that is not delay-sensitive. A side benefit of this is that it will make more room for delay-sensitive traffic, like VOIP, and boost its quality. SD-WAN deals with delay-sensitive and real-time traffic differently. Rather than having to optimize your network for better bandwidth, it actively searches out a better path for your traffic. Combining these two is a powerful way to boost your network’s performance.
SD-WAN is only superior to MPLS because of cost.
It is true that SD-WANs are cheaper than MPLS but there are more benefits than just lower costs. They are also easier to manage, operate, and maintain. You don’t need to be an expert to run an SD-WAN. Their controls are centralized, GUI based, and easier to work with than a traditional MPLS. This argument also makes a false dichotomy; you don’t have to choose one over the other. As we have mentioned before, it is not going to replace MPLS. SD-WAN will enhance MPLS, making your network traffic more reliable and smoother.
An SD-WAN will cut down on overall networking costs.
This system will optimize your business’s IT spend. It allows your network to be optimized for price and performance. Whether it reduces your overall spend depends on the applications you are using. However, it can reduce your commercial and operational costs by allowing you to support multiple network functions, like routing, firewall, and WAN acceleration, in one, rather than purchasing and maintaining multiple devices.
If you’re looking to make the migration to SD-WAN, we can help. Contact us for a free consultation.