SD-WAN or CDN – Do You Need Both?

A CDN or SD-WAN both deliver functionality that improves the performance of web-based applications and services. As the digital age continues to transform the way we transact, communicate, and consume information, online apps and solutions are vital utilities needed to navigate the information economy. However, seamless access to these platforms is not enough. Service providers need to ensure their solutions are resilient and deliver the performance expected by today’s modern technology user.

The Anatomy of an SD-WAN:

According to Gartner, a Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) has four characteristics:

  • It must support multiple connection types (MPLS, LTE, etc.)
  • It must be able to perform automated dynamic path selection
  • It must provide a simple, centralized interface for managing the WAN
  • It must support Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

Essentially, an SD-WAN is a virtualization solution that operates at the network level of an enterprise infrastructure architecture. By centralizing the control function of a network, it enables organizations to direct traffic securely and intelligently across a Wide Area Network (WAN). This virtual WAN architecture also allows enterprises to leverage any combination of network transport services, including Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), Wireless Broadband Long-Term Evolution (LTE), and other broadband internet services. Ultimately, SD-WAN allows organizations to connect users to their enterprise applications securely.

The distinct advantage an SD-WAN has over a traditional router-centric networking model is that it leverages software and a centralized control function to steer and direct traffic across a WAN intelligently. It achieves this objective through the deployment of two key features, Centralized Orchestration, and Zero-Touch Provisioning.

Centralized Orchestration
As an SD-WAN has a centralized architecture model, it allows network engineers to configure the relevant policies for application performance and security. Not only does this functionality reduce WAN operational expenses significantly, but it also delivers the highest level of application performance that translates into an enhanced end-user quality of experience. The centralized model of an SD-WAN continuously monitors application and the deployed WAN transport resources. This ability gives the platform the power to adapt to rapidly changing network conditions ensuring performance and availability.

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