How SD-WAN Facilitates Edge Computing
Just a few years ago, edge computing was a nascent technology seen primarily as a facilitator of Internet of Things (IoT) projects. Today, it is an increasingly mainstream computing framework with a variety of practical business applications — particularly for the remote workforce.
Edge computing is a distributed computing model that pushes data processing closer to data sources in order to minimize latency, preserve bandwidth and allow devices to work with near-real-time data. While it remains central to IoT operations, edge computing now provides critical connectivity for a growing range of devices and services.
In a little more than a decade, the number of network-connected devices in the world has quadrupled to nearly 50 billion. Most organizations today need to connect a vast array of nontraditional devices to their networks, including phones, cameras, HVAC controls, digital displays, Bluetooth sensors, security systems and more.
As the number of network-connected devices continues to explode, more organizations are adopting edge computing. It proved particularly useful during the pandemic when the sudden surge of traffic coming from remote employees pushed networks to their limits. Edge servers helped organizations reduce the massive volumes of data moving through the data center and helped improve the performance of critical communication and collaboration applications.
However, increased usage of the edge model has also exposed one of its downsides —complexity. Relocating data processing requires organizations to deploy multiple “micro data centers” beyond the corporate data center. Depending on the workload, a micro data center can be anything from a microcomputer running lightweight software to a remote site outfitted with servers, storage and networking equipment.
Connecting and managing a corporate network across multiple locations is difficult to accomplish with traditional WAN architectures based on MPLS connectivity. The configurations required to route and manage traffic are complex and must be updated regularly as application profiles and business needs change — that means someone from IT has to visit each location for every update.
SD-WAN solutions offer a better approach to connecting the decentralized IT environment. With SD-WAN, organizations can centrally manage and automate configurations of WAN edge routers. IT only has to define routing policies and prioritize various types of traffic instead of constantly reconfiguring devices. Traffic is routed based upon the current state of the network, providing the agility to adapt to changing network conditions.
Extending the Network
An SD-WAN also makes it possible to extend the network with a variety of transport types, including broadband, cellular and satellite. Instead of having a single active network and a backup connection, all connections are active and traffic routing is automated across multiple links. That is a game-changer for remote workers because it ensures that key network resources and cloud applications are always available.
Additionally, an SD-WAN can be configured for a full mesh topology as well as the traditional hub-and-spoke topology. With a mesh configuration, branch offices and remote employees can securely connect directly to each other without having to go through the data center. This not only conserves bandwidth but eliminates the need for complicated routing and firewall rules.
The transition to a remote workforce has dramatically altered traditional network traffic patterns. Faced with the need to securely support a far more decentralized IT environment while simultaneously conserving bandwidth, many organizations are exploring edge computing options. That’s a smart choice, but SD-WAN solutions are essential for masking the complexity of edge deployments and ensuring reliable end-to-end connectivity.
To learn more about using SD-WAN to facilitate edge computing, give us a call. Or you can go here to read more about our SageCONNECT.SD solution.
Jason SchwakopfSenior Sales Engineer
Recent events have caused a paradigm shift for many companies, accelerating their desire to better leverage IoT. Supply chain, healthcare, advanced living care, retail and other service industries are going to be looking at ways to be “touchless” as much as possible. Enterprise systems will need a new level of flexibility, accessibility and above all, security.Get to know Jason
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