What is SD-WAN?

A Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a virtual WAN architecture that allows enterprises to leverage any combination of transport services – including MPLS, LTE and broadband internet services – to securely connect users to applications.

An SD-WAN uses a centralized control function to securely and intelligently direct traffic across the WAN. This increases application performance and delivers a high quality user experience, resulting in increased business productivity, agility and reduced costs for IT.
SD WAN Architecture Diagram
Traditional WANs based on conventional routers were never designed for the cloud. They typically require backhauling all traffic – including cloud- destined traffic – from branch offices to a hub or headquarters data center where advanced security inspection services can be applied. The delay caused by backhaul impairs application performance resulting in a poor user experience and lost productivity.

Unlike the traditional router-centric WAN architecture, the SD-WAN model is designed to fully support applications hosted in on-premise data centers, public or private clouds and SaaS services such as, Workday, Office 365 and Dropbox, while delivering the highest levels of application performance.


Times have changed, and enterprises are using the cloud and subscribing to software-as-a-service (SaaS). While users traditionally connected back to the corporate data center to access business applications, they are now accessing those same applications in the cloud.

As a result, the traditional WAN is no longer suitable mainly because backhauling all traffic – including that destined to the cloud – from branch offices to the headquarters introduces latency and impairs application performance. SD-WAN provides WAN simplification, lower costs, bandwidth efficiency and a seamless on-ramp to the cloud with significant application performance especially for critical applications without sacrificing security and data privacy.

Top Benefits of SD-WAN


Realizing ROI for Software-Defined Networking (SDN) in the campus LAN or even the data center has proven elusive. But not so with SD-WANs. The ROI is dramatic and immediate. With an SD-WAN solution from Silver Peak, you can now augment or even replace MPLS connections with broadband internet services to connect users to applications and lower WAN costs by up to 90%.

A simplified, centrally managed SD-WAN architecture also lowers OPEX. The Silver Peak Unity Orchestrator enables rapid brand deployments with zero-touch provisioning. Bringing a new branch or remote location online is easy and can be done in just a few minutes: connect a Unity EdgeConnect appliance, physical or virtual, to the LAN and WAN links serving the branch, plug it in and turn it on. No specialized IT expertise is required on premise at the branch.

EdgeConnect automatically “calls home” to the Orchestrator where an existing configuration is downloaded to the branch appliance. When any configuration changes are needed, IT programs them centrally on the Orchestrator and with a single click, changes are automatically “pushed” to all of the EdgeConnect SD-WAN appliances across the WAN.
EdgeConnect Auto-provision
While all existing WAN equipment is fully compatible with EdgeConnect SD-WAN appliances, Silver Peak can also consolidate branch office equipment requirements. EdgeConnect integrates routing, basic firewalling and WAN optimization functions for “broadband-only” installations, further lowering CAPEX.
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