Benefits And Use Cases Of SD-WAN

CASwell Appliances Can Leverage SD-WAN For Big Enterprises And Small Branches


Renowned market research company Gartner predicted three years ago that 30 percent of enterprises will have deployed SD-WAN technologies in their branches by the end of 2019 [1] but what is SD-WAN and what are its benefits?

A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is basically a network solution based on a combination of highly intelligent software and powerful hardware to replace standard high-cost WAN solutions which are using only private connections like MPLS – Multiprotocol Label Switching.

SD-WAN can use a variety of different network types to connect branches or subsidaries, for example stores or offices, to a headquarter or data center. Instead of just one direct connection, SD-WAN can use standard broadband internet connections and even mobile communication like LTE and 4G or 5G in case of landline problems. This makes the connection to the data center much more robust and basically guarantees that business is running without interruptions – the key for success today.

Furthermore, SD-WAN is easier to deploy and manage than private connections because it’s not depending on the carrier and their often long-term MPLS contracts which are mostly very cost intensive.

Historically there were different devices to manage secure wide area network connections to a headquarter like router, firewall etc. Thanks to virtualization this can now be handled by one network server running different applications at the same time while also being open for easy upgrades regarding either hardware or software as it is based on the common and widespread x86 architecture.

Cloud Integration And Security

Another advantage is that managing SD-WAN can be done centrally by the headquarter to maintain the same network policies for every branch. One of these policies could be the integration of a cloud service in SD-WAN. That gives every branch another central application without needing to manage different public cloud services.

Network traffic can easily be prioritized to secure the most important data comes first and security is another important feature of SD-WAN. Because of the usage of public internet, the SD-WAN could potentially be attacked to steal data or get access to the network but end-to-end encryption and network segmentation enables the business to keep their data safe. Even when one part of the network gets hacked, it will automatically be quarantined and the rest of the network is still blocked for the intruder.

Efficiency And Hardware Solutions

SD-WAN is more efficient for business because the solution can easily be transferred to another branch office or store – possibly even automated. This and centralized operation saves IT costs. Same goes for the SD-WAN appliances which are available in different sizes at various performance levels and multiple price points – as Eric Barnett, senior director of US-based telecommunications company “CenturyLink” put it: “Enterprise SD-WAN is more than just software.” [2]

CASwell Portfolio For Every Requirement

CASwell is offering many diffent network devices supporting SD-WAN usage, from compact white boxes for medium-sized offices or stores to high-end enterprise-class rackmounts and even ruggized appliances like the CAW-0110 for extremely low or high temperatures in industrial environments.

All of these products are based on processors satisfying almost every need and are ranging from the energy-efficient and affordable Intel Atom series up to the high-performance processing power provided by one or two Intel Xeon server-grade CPUs with up to 24 cores each. Those can be combined with high-speed DDR4 memory or the proven and trusted DDR3, depending on the branches requirements.

Many CASwell products support Intel QAT (Quick Assist Technology) to accelerate encrypted data traffic in a secure network and to reduce overall data size and lower storage demands by faster real-time compression while at the same time relieving the CPU of some of the processing workloads.

As all of CASwell’s products are networking devices, they offer variable and versatile network connectivity. Gigabit-Ethernet is commonplace nowadays and 50 network ports are possible with some CASwell devices like the CAR-6002. Many devices are also upgradeable by the self-designed and convenient “Network Interface Plug-in” (NIP) to 40 Gbit/s Ethernet when needed. Even 100-Gbit-Ethernet is possible for some appliances equipped with PCI Express 3.0 slots for easily improving to the highest network speed.

Some branches may need mobile access for both communication and data and for those requirements CASwell offers WiFi in select devices and even cellular connectivity with 4G/LTE modules. 5G is coming in the forseeable future and CASwell is prepared for that with their modular device setup.

A big company’s headquarter may need very powerful rackmount network devices based on two Intel Xeon server processors and supporting 100-Gbit-Ethernet like the CAR-5050 [4] or the upcoming CAR-6010 using Skylake-SP or Cascade Lake-SP microarchitectures with up to 52 cores combined and supporting up to 256 GByte of main memory while a branch office with 10 to 50 employees may be sufficiently equipped by a fanless and more quiet desktop appliance like the CAF-0260 or CAF-0262 based on Intel Denverton-NS dual- or quad-core CPUs, supporting WiFi and 4G/LTE connections. Which model to deploy is decided based upon the size of the enterprise branch and the software that is supposed to be run on each appliance.

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