SD-WAN: A Critical Tool for Digital Transformation in Distributed Organizations

SD-WAN: A Critical Tool for Digital Transformation in Distributed Organizations

This is the second in an insight series by IDC for EarthLink on the impact of SD-WAN.   In the era of digital transformation the branch network plays an unprecedented role in delivering business value. Digital transformation refers to the disruption and evolution of business models and processes through new technologies leveraging cloud, mobility, social media, and IoT. Many digital transformation initiatives are centered around cloud-based business applications. These initiatives span the length of the enterprise, enabling new operational efficiencies and customer engagement opportunities. For most organizations, these applications are hosted in both the public and private cloud, adding complexity to optimizing WAN connectivity.

Enterprise IT managers often find that legacy WAN architectures are simply outdated for the demands of distributed enterprises where branch offices, warehouses, storefronts, and remote workers need to be seamlessly and securely connected to headquarters and myriad public and private cloud SaaS applications. IDC has found a number of benefits associated with rapidly emerging SD-WAN architectures.

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is making true digital transformation possible for many distributed organizations. By optimizing connectivity methods over the WAN while providing centralized management (including security and policy enforcement), SD-WAN can offer improved performance of SaaS applications on the network, allowing organizations to realize a better ROI on digital transformation-related cloud application initiatives, while seeing stronger performance of mission-critical day-to-day applications.

Ideal for the transforming needs of branch networks

Specifically, how does SD-WAN solve connectivity challenges for branch offices and remote locations? Among the more prominent challenges addressed by SD-WAN is supporting the bandwidth required for a barrage of cloud-based business applications at traditionally constrained branch locations and remote offices, while also ensuring reliable and secure access. Additionally, there is the challenge of matching applications to the best connectivity methods with regard to cost and performance. SD-WAN has the potential to best leverage internet, DSL/cable, private line, MPLS, Ethernet, and 4G/LTE depending on specific use case needs.

Further insight into how SD-WAN optimizes application connectivity for the digital era can be found in our recent whitepaper, sponsored by EarthLink, which examines how digital transformation and cloud computing have necessitated a significant reassessment of the WAN, especially for branch offices and remote workers. It explores how and why SD-WAN has arisen in a response to new requirements. The paper also examines EarthLink’s approach to SD-WAN which leverages technology from SD-WAN vendor VeloCloud and combines it with EarthLink’s extensive portfolio of customized professional services and long-established network capabilities. This is our second piece in a series on the impact of SD-WAN; be sure to read our first post for additional detail.


Nolan Greene Nolan Greene (1 Posts)

Nolan Greene is a Sr. Research Analyst with IDC’s Network Infrastructure group covering Enterprise Networks. In this role, he is responsible for market and technology trends, forecasts, and competitive analysis in the Ethernet switching, routing, wireless LAN, and adjacent networking markets. While contributing to quarterly and yearly forecast and market share updates, he also assists in survey design, end-user interviews, and contributes to custom projects for IDC’s Consulting and Go-To-Market Services practices. Prior to joining IDC as an analyst, Nolan interned on IDC’s Enterprise Networks team, contributing to multiple IDC MarketScapes in enterprise networking and mobility providing comprehensive market and vendor strategy assessments. Before joining IDC in 2013, Nolan worked in product marketing for a global retail chain and in various non-profit management roles. Nolan holds an MBA, with a focus in Marketing, from Boston University School of Management and a B.A. in Sociology from Furman University.

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