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SD-WAN and security implications – Part 1

Nov 9, 2016

SD-WANI have written an article on SD-WAN for Seguritecnia, an online and print magazine that is very present in the private security sector in Spain. In said article, I explained the concept of SD-WAN and the security implications associated to this technology (as befits a magazine that focuses on safety).
Given the enormous interest in SD-WAN, I decided to give our blog readers the opportunity of perusing the contents of said article.

In addition, and since Teldat’s blog is available both in English and in Spanish, our Anglophone followers can also access the document. The content of this article has been divided into two blog entries. The first is an introduction to the SD-WAN concept and how it differs from more traditional WANs. Next week, in a new blog entry, I’ll be writing on topics relative to security over this communication channel. I hope both entries prove interesting!
Virtualization phenomena is fast reaching infrastructures and communication networks. After its astounding success in information technology, where it’s use has made systems to support social media and the general cloud phenomenon possible, virtualization is beginning to be applied to communication networks. The aim is to obtain the same advantages in availability, flexibility, dynamism and cost, given by information systems in datacenters and cloud, and apply these to the world of communications.
Within the scope of network virtualization, two technologies have grown strongly, despite not being fully developed as yet, and threaten to permanently change the panorama. These are SDN (software-designed networks) and NFV (network functions virtualization).
SDN appeared in datacenters, with the idea of applying virtualization advantages in a datacenter local network to interconnect server racks. While system virtualization allowed for virtual machines to be rapidly integrated in datacenter services, creating local networks that connected these virtual machines proved to be a far more tedious and error-prone process.
Today, SDN has left datacenters behind and reached WAN. This, in combination with some other data communication technologies, is now known as SD-WAN. The enormous interest this sparks is no coincidence, as it resolves many of the problems companies were finding when designing and operating their WAN networks (for instance, high costs or lack of dynamism when adapting to business requirements). SD-WAN abstracts the physical WAN transport network and creates a virtual internet over it, regardless of the number, type or ISP of each WAN connection in a branch office. In practical terms, you can use SD-WAN to increase or replace a corporate MPL network with one or various residential broadband links, such as ADSL, FTTH or 4G, operating in coordination with each other. Traffic distribution over the various links depends on business or application criteria (more so than conventional IP routing rules) and management and adaption is simpler and more dynamic than in traditional networks.
It’s true, while reading this article (and others), that SD-WAN certainly has a place in the corporate world, not only in traditional branch offices but in any corporate network worth connecting, office or not, even if it only has a single WAN access. Examples of this can be found in M2M (such as kiosks or standalone points) as well as in on-board communication systems for buses, armored vehicles, police cars, etc.
In the following week, I’ll be writing about security implications and what those concepts mean in SD-WAN.
In Teldat, we believe SD-WAN technology will revolutionize the field of corporate communications in the coming years and WAN will soon become “SD-WAN”.

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