Digital ecosystems enable there to be fundamental changes in day-to-day business activities. The rapidly changing business landscape requires the use of new technology and more effective management to build digital-ready organisations. Adopting new technology certainly requires the appropriate infrastructure, especially networks as the backbone.
Organisations will look for agile, flexible and scalable network solutions to maximise business operations in various branch offices. Network optimisation with scalable management will ensure productivity and quality of service to the branch network, along with efforts to achieve a significant operational expenses efficiency strategy.
Because of this, many organisations are turning to Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology. SD-WAN is transformational technology in the digital age for designing, distributing, and operating corporate networks. SD-WAN aims to optimise network bandwidth utilisation. In addition, the use of this leading network solution can also improve application performance and increase network visibility in a widespread number of branches.
Take for example, when a bank undergoes digital transformation and becomes a leading bank through innovation and growth, network connectivity is one of the main areas identified for undergoing transformation. The transformation is carried out by overhauling the old WAN infrastructure and rigid architecture, and remodelling it with SD-WAN, in order to create long-term sustainable value for improving customer experience at each branch.
This network dynamic is the focus of a report by IDC which estimates that the SD-WAN market will grow by more than US$ 6 billion by 2020. IDC also estimates that the adoption of SD-WAN will increase significantly worldwide with annual growth (compound annual growth rate/CAGR) of 69.6% until 2021. It can be said that up until 2020 is the golden momentum for SD-WAN. Technologies such as IoT and the cloud will be the two main drivers for SD-WAN implementation, pushing for more bandwidth needed and network architecture that is friendly for technology in organisations. SD-WAN can be designed to accommodate the performance of various leading cloud applications in public applications used by companies, such as video conferencing and desktop sharing.
Ease of Operations and the Flexibility of SD-WAN
For large companies with branch offices spread across various regions of Indonesia, it is not enough to rely on traditional wide area network (WAN) technology to connect networks between data centres, headquarters and branch offices that are located far apart. Why? This is because the operation of a traditional WAN requires many devices with their own complexities and costs. The downside of the traditional WAN is that the control, configuration, and management of devices in all locations of the company’s network must be done in each branch office. This is what causes companies to have to send and place various experts in their branch offices, resulting in high operational costs, not to mention the security aspects in networks which are questioned amid the increasing threat of cybersecurity in Indonesia.
In essence, SD-WAN is able to simplify traditional WAN, where SD-WAN technology packs some of the most important features of the devices needed – taking into account the things that companies need that would certainly differ one from the other, such as bandwidth management, application performance, security and also costs – and puts them together.
The simplified technology in SD-WAN with the cloud can give companies the power to distribute rules, make policy changes, and new configurations across networks at any scale in seconds from anywhere, so policy updates (such as security, credential info, etc.) that would be quite complicated with traditional WAN topologies will be made easier with SD-WAN.
This gives an advantage to the enterprise in terms of operational costs for labour. Companies no longer need to send or put a whole lot of company experts in the branch offices to manage and control the network at each company location. All of this can be done through the SD-WAN application via the cloud. In this way, the company does not need a lot of experts and can save on costs.
High reliability is also a major strength of SD-WAN. To provide the services and applications needed to carry out key business functions, multi-location companies utilise WAN to connect remote branch offices to data centres and headquarters. However, as network distances are extended further and further, operational challenges such as jitter, packet loss, network congestion, and outages often occur. The network technology available to overcome these problems is usually very pricey and is not efficient to implement, so it becomes a limitation for companies with fast-paced operational businesses that focus on efficiency and expansion.
The presence of SD-WAN provides the ability to combine several different WAN connections including the Internet as a whole to act as the one part. This means that if one connection fails, SD-WAN can issue an automatic failover to your backup connection. In other words, SD-WAN provides guaranteed service performance for your connectivity in real-time. With major advantages in operational ease and flexibility, SD-WAN may be the leading technology that is currently the backbone of digital transformation. This is what led to the prediction that 2020 and beyond would be the golden age.(*)