To optimise application performance for your current users and prepare your network for future business needs, you may be considering several options. You may be considering how you can make existing network provision work harder or smarter, how you can reduce reliance on expensive connectivity or how you can completely change your network infrastructure.The good news is that SD-WAN can not only help you meet the needs of the many bandwidth hungry apps of the future, but also help you get the most out of your existing MPLS connectivity, so you can keep your network performing at the highest levels.Here’s 8 signs SD-WAN should be on your networking agenda: 1. You’ve adopted a hybrid compute/storage cloud-strategy and need a WAN to suitAs cloud has opened up greater opportunities the demands on networking need to align more with the workloads they’re delivering. By having a network that is more aligned to the traits found in cloud — elastic, dynamic, and software-defined, workloads and network work more in harmony, rather than in opposition, and set up for optimal performance across your IT estate. 2. You need to improve application performanceUsers are increasingly demanding, they want speed and consistency to support not just regular workloads but more video and voice conferencing. SD-WAN gives you lots more scope for making the right choices here. A typical scenario would see an organisation taking a private MPLS connection as well as an internet connection to their sites. That would allow business-critical or highly sensitive applications such as telephony, databases and finance system run locally, while network traffic which is destined for the internet, like Microsoft 365, web browsing and cloud services in Azure, for example, would route out via your internet connection.SD-WAN not only lets you orchestrate and aggregate those chosen connectivity options but Quality of Service allows for dynamic intelligent routing and traffic prioritisation. You can also define policies per application so, for example, a less sensitive application can be routed over the links with best performance. 3. You need improved visibility and control of traffic on your WANIt’s impossible to manage and optimise a) what you can’t see and b) what you can’t change on-demand, hence SD-WAN’s management console putting all that command and control at your fingertips. The result? Informed decisions made more quickly and resultant network changes deployed more easily and speedily – everything becomes that much more efficient and frictionless. 4. You need to ensure network security is robust by adopting next-gen firewallsSecurity is never simple but within an SD-WAN environment it becomes easier to stay on the front foot. Take the upgrading of security requirements – this type of change can now be effected by the policy engine of an SD-WAN controller. This ensures the new rule is downloaded to all SD-WAN devices at the click of a button. 5. You want to use increasingly cost-effective cellular data for quick and short-term deploymentOrganisations are thinking in a more agile way and SD-WAN provides a perfect toolkit to deliver really smart solutions. The ability to aggregate, say, a 4G backup circuit, and to combine it with a primary circuit gives an immediate increase in bandwidth at no extra cost – it’s a flexible resource that means you don’t have to commit to more fixed bandwidth at more cost 6. You’d like to use an ubiquitous internet connection as a back-up or alternative WAN routeSD-WAN gives you precisely this sort of scope – it will control which traffic should use which link; there’s support for local break-out for public Cloud destined traffic, saving on bandwidth for backhauling; you can aggregate connectivity when and if you need it – all of which combine to give you the freedom to really leverage all of your internet connections 7. You have a growing number of international sites that need to be brought into your WAN cost-effectivelySD-WAN is changing the landscape here in a hugely positive way. First, connectivity is much more affordable, thanks to the circuit aggregation possible. And secondly, provisioning and speed of deployment are radically improved because they rely on software, not resources being physically sent to site. 8. You need to merge disparate networks resulting from acquisitionAnyone who has done this will know how onerous and unsatisfactory it can be – from early termination penalties to an expensive, urgent network reworks that more often than not misses the mark. SD-WAN allows for more measured transitions: rather than trying to hurriedly make sense of or streamline connections and networks from multiple vendors, you can place an SD-WAN device in every location and architect through software a uniform network of networks. A Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a virtual WAN architecture which allows you to securely connect users to applications using any available connectivity option, whether that be MPLS, broadband or cellular. SD-WAN uses centralised software to route traffic intelligently and manage security more efficiently.Smarter handling of priority traffic can help you deliver a fast, secure and better user experience. While, more intelligent routing of network traffic can help you navigate increasing demands on your network and negate the need for further MPLS investment. To find out how you can help your circuits work harder and smarter to meet future networking needs, contact us to request a network traffic evaluation. We’ll help you to determine the best route forward.