In order to meet the connectivity needs of external locations and to ensure optimal operating parameters for business-critical applications, more and more organizations are migrating from traditional networks to Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) architectures. Aiming to help companies that want to improve the efficiency and availability of the networks they operate, Datanet Systems recently hosted a webinar that presented and analyzed the benefits and key features of the Cisco SD-WAN solution, as well as a series of practical work scenarios.
During the webinar entitled “Reducing costs, increasing access’ speed to IT applications, and improving security by using Cisco SD-WAN”, the Datanet Systems specialists addressed the Software Defined Wide Area Network’s topic starting from the actual challenges that companies are currently facing:
- The need for higher bandwidth in remote locations of companies (workstations, subsidiaries or branches) – supplementing or upgrading MPLS links in traditional WAN architectures requires substantial investment, and direct Internet access to external locations cannot be achieved under secure conditions, as in Hub & Spoke topologies, where the security is centrally provided through the Data Center.
- Advanced security requirements – the traffic segmentation between the external locations and the Data Center, via classic VPN solutions, requires a relatively complex administration, performed with specialized personnel.
- Low operational efficiency – in traditional WANs, any configuration change and new services implementation requires manual interventions at the level of each router, processes that consume time and can lead to human errors in equipment parameterization. Also, companies need additional tools for network monitoring.
The Cisco SD-WAN solution recommended by Datanet meets these needs and the company’s specialists presented in detail the tangible benefits provided by this technology.
Watch the webinar’s video recording below.
The advantages of the Cisco SD-WAN solution
„One of the main advantages of SD-WAN technology is that it allows to implement independent topologies for each connection link. For example, a Full Mesh topology can be used for VoIP traffic, while a Hub & Spoke topology is more adequate for data traffic with centralized access to the Data Center. With Cisco SD-WAN, all of these architectures can be easily configured without the need for advanced skills. This reduces the cost of operating the network and the time of configuration, but also the risk of affecting the operation of applications and the delivery of services“, mentioned Faruk Hairedin, Senior Network Engineer at Datanet Systems.
On the other hand, using the Cisco SD-WAN solution provides companies with a 65% reduction in connectivity costs and 2.25 times more bandwidth by replacing MPLS links with direct Internet connections, according to an IDC analysis.
Another benefit of the SD-WAN technology is that it allows traffic to be routed according to the needs of the applications and the performance of the communication lines used by the company. The Cisco solution permanently monitors traffic parameters on each communication line in the WAN (delay, jitter, packet loss), and, through the Application-Aware Routing function, redirects applications when issues occur that may affect the connection performance to ensure application-specific SLAs and/or services.
Additionally, Cisco SD-WAN performs end-to-end traffic encryption and ensures traffic segmentation. For each service defined in the network, a dedicated virtual topology is created, the services being transported separately between locations. Cisco SD-WAN provides security not only for direct access to the Internet but also in the Cloud, respectively for accessing applications running in Microsoft Azure, AWS, GCP, etc. Cisco routers installed in external locations include advanced firewall functionality, advanced malware detection (checking and blocking traffic based on signatures, and/or checking/ detonating networked files in a controlled environment), DNS request checking, and URL filtering.
Working scenarios for SD-WAN solutions
Octavian Szolga, Senior Network Engineers at Datanet Systems, presented during the webinar how Cisco SD-WAN covers four common work scenarios for local companies.
The first of these was that the Cisco application automatically redistributes traffic to a particular link taking into account its parameters and application-specific SLAs, a common situation when congestion, errors, or malfunctions occur. The Cisco solution allows you to create policies that are automatically pushed into an SD-WAN topology through the centralized management interface.
The second scenario presented refers to the network segmentation in an SD-WAN architecture. “With Cisco solution, segmentation is performed quite easy as when we supply equipment, we basically have the option to set-up the exact services behind it. Unlike a classic WAN network, where when adding a new service we have to configure each network device and analyze and monitor each topology separately “, explained the Datanet specialist.
The third presented scenario addresses companies with restrictions on Internet access, according to the company security policies, standards, and/or compliance requirements. The devices of the Cisco SD-WAN solution allows the configuration of advanced security services, provided by integrated firewall and IPS modules, as well as by integration with Cisco Umbrella, that ensures security at DNS level, and Cisco Advanced Malware Protection (AMP), that performs file analysis on the network based on reputation or using a Sandbox environment.
The fourth scenario refers to the Cloud integration and the specific advantages provided by the Cisco solution, which ensures the optimization of the user experience by constantly evaluating the performance of each connection link.
The session also included a demo during which it was presented how a new service in an SD-WAN network can be added in less than 10 minutes, regardless of its size.
Datanet specialists presented both the architecture and components of an SD-WAN architecture established with the Cisco solution, as well as the practical ways in which it can be migrated. Datanet provides the proper consulting services to identify and design the optimal configuration for each beneficiary, that enables it to reuse the existing infrastructure components and to reach the targeted performance parameters. The services package includes implementation, configuration, customization, and integration, and ensures the migration of the beneficiary’s locations without affecting its activity. In addition, Datanet also offers training, maintenance, development, and service with guaranteed fault remediation time.
For more information on this topic, please follow the complete “Reducing costs, increasing access’ speed to IT applications, and improving security by using Cisco SD-WAN” webinar recording.