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SD-WAN solutions typically have a single management platform. In addition to monitoring functions, this platform is also used for automatic configuration of SD-WAN devices and programming of SD-WAN tunnels. Adding SD-WAN functionality to the site means starting the SD-WAN device on the site and connecting it to the centralized controller using the Internet. The device automatically retrieves images, configuration and flow control rules from the controller.
With a single platform of management, you can upgrade multiple devices or change policies. SD-WAN no longer requires any trained IT staff to configure and monitor each site. IT teams can create profile templates that define policies and can configure multiple devices or sites using the same template. Zero-touch configuration in SD-WAN speeds up and simplifies site deployment and management.
Cloud-based SD-WAN gateways are flexible and scalable. Users do not need to run all services to instantiate on-demand network services, such as security or firewalls, from SD-WAN controllers, as well as redesign the data center. Enterprises can use any COTS server and create SD-WAN virtual edge devices. Then, configure services and policies for these devices by using a centralized SD-WAN controller.
The growing interest in SD-WAN has led to a standardization of SD-WAN across the industry. The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) published its first paper in July 2017, introducing the SD-WAN component of the SD-WAN end-to-end solution. The MEF also proposes a service specification that defines the framework and API for all interfaces of the SD-WAN component.
SD-WAN-supported transport-independent SD-WAN tunneling and traffic steering capabilities help organizations save on expensive MPLS bandwidth. Centralized monitoring of automation capabilities and SD-WAN reduces the complexity of deployment and management of enterprise sites. However, SD-WAN may not really replace MPLS. Enterprises may still like MPLS for critical traffic. Hybrid WAN architecture (SD-WAN and MPLS work together) is today's most popular solution. The SD-WAN standardization work will further enhance the confidence of enterprises to integrate SD-WAN into their business.
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