Last autumn, Gartner released an article headlined “SD-WAN Is Killing MPLS, So Prepare to Replace It Now”. This was a clear message to every company looking for effective networking between their branches, sites and headquarters.
Without a doubt, a software-based VPN solution has the potential to revolutionize wide area networking in the long term: Although SD-WAN offers dramatically improved bandwidths and latency these days, what is ultimately convincing businesses are the significant cost reductions – not only for the standard site connectivity between headquarters and branches, but in particular with regard to the growing use of the cloud.
For large companies today, life without cloud applications and software-as-a service is almost unthinkable. Services such as Office 365, Salesforce or Microsoft Azure are everyday tools. We now have completely new requirements for high-performance and secure data transfer between locations and cloud data centers. After all, poorly implemented WANs negatively impact cloud performance and access to cloud-based applications.
Application-based routing in a nutshell
This is where the benefits of a smart, software-defined WAN come into play. Lightweight but effective, application-based routing takes hold exactly where the user accesses cloud applications. At the individual branch offices or subsidiaries, the router uses the application table to decide which applications are controlled directly, i.e. it steers the relevant applications such as Office 365 directly to the Internet without routing them through the company headquarters. Dynamic local breakout accelerates the access to cloud applications and reduces the load on the VPN route to the headquarters and the Internet connection there.
The primary facilitator for application routing is the decision making on layer 7 (i.e. on the application layer, which allows efficient communications between applications within a network) and the host name that can be specified in the local router.
The reduction of load on the VPN route and the Internet connection at the headquarters is particularly noticeable by the improvement in performance of the applications. Application routing requires VPN routers and gateways that feature the latest LANCOM firmware LCOS 10.30 with its additional new features for SD-WANs. The applications which are to be routed directly are specified in the configuration. And the best place for this, of course, is in the LANCOM Management Cloud
More to come!