Back to School with SD-WAN

September 2, 2018

We have all seen the signs that a new season has begun. No, we’re not talking about the fall season – it’s back to school season! The season is filled with shopping for school supplies and a new outfit for the first day. So in the spirit of the season, we’ve decided to create a curriculum for learning everything you wanted to know about SD-WAN.

SD-WAN Curriculum and Resource Materials

Here are five resources of information to understand SD-WAN, but also about other technologies that impact SD-WAN. Reviewing these resources will provide a solid foundation for understanding SD-WAN in today’s technology landscape. Including these resources in your studies will help to make you the smartest person in the room.

Networking 101:

Networking Glossary

Networking and WAN have a language of their own, with new terms being added as new technologies emerge. Knowledge and awareness of these terms are necessary when evaluating your WAN solution. Learn some of the need-to-know terms to add to your tech vocabulary such as NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) and Internet backhaul. Learning these terms will help you when discussing different WAN solutions, technical challenges that must be addressed, and security considerations for the enterprise network.

Foundations of WAN:

MPLS, SD-WAN, and the Promise of SD-WAN as a Service

MPLS has been a staple of enterprise networks for years, but business networks are changing. IT managers are realizing it’s time to reconsider their network architectures. Find out more about the challenges that legacy WAN infrastructures are being faced with today, such as provisioning time and cost issues, and how SD-WAN addresses those challenges. However, not all SD-WAN solutions address these challenges equally. This resource can help you understand the differences between an SD-WAN appliance-based solution and SD-WAN as a service solution.

The Origin of WAN:

The Evolution of SD-WAN

Initially, the adoption of SD-WAN was driven by budgetary constraints of legacy WAN infrastructure. Over time, the driving factors for SD-WAN have evolved to include agility, performance, and connectivity to cloud and mobile resources. It’s beneficial to learn the history behind technologies such as MPLS and SD-WAN and the forces behind these changes. The changes in SD-WAN can be broken down into three phases that reflect how it has adapted to the demands of business requirements. An SD-WAN solution that incorporates all three aspects of WAN transformation into one solution can simplify an otherwise complex environment.

Critical Thinking – WAN Strategies:

MPLS, SD-WAN, Internet, and the Cloud

The WAN ties together the remote locations, main office, and data centers of every enterprise. But today’s enterprises now also include cloud resources and mobile workforces that need optimized and secure connectivity. Gain insight into choosing the best networking technology by comparing the different connectivity, optimization, and security options for the next generation WAN. This resource will also increase your understanding of securing legacy WAN, SD-WAN, and cloud traffic.

Business Economics:

The Business Impact of WAN Transformation with SD-WAN

No doubt SD-WAN is a hot technology right now, but IT and business leaders need to justify the investment. A move to SD-WAN should be initiated by a solid business case with positive business impacts. Find out how SD-WAN can meet objectives such as improving network capacity, availability, and agility to increase user productivity; optimize global connectivity for fixed and mobile users; enable strategic IT initiatives such as cloud infrastructure and application migration. By addressing these objectives with SD-WAN, businesses can ensure a return on investment.

Final Tips From the Instructor

After completing the outlined curriculum, you should feel confident in your understanding of SD-WAN and related technologies. With a solid foundation of knowledge, there are many topics regarding SD-WAN and business impacts that can deepen your understanding even further. SD-WAN is an exciting technology that is transforming enterprise infrastructures to meet today’s business requirements.

You are encouraged to keep learning about the latest developments in the SD-WAN industry. Subscribe to Cato Networks blog to stay informed and help you be the head of the SD-WAN class.

Class dismissed!

Dave Greenfield

Dave Greenfield

Dave Greenfield is a veteran of IT industry. He’s spent more than 20 years as an award-winning journalist and independent technology consultant. Today, he serves as a secure networking evangelist for Cato Networks.