April 17, 2024

Cloud-Native SDWAN Deployment vs Legacy SDWAN Deployment

8 min read
Discover the key differences between cloud-native SDWAN deployment and legacy SDWAN deployment in this insightful article.
Two networks

Two networks

In today’s digital age, organizations require agile, secure, and cost-effective networks to keep pace with evolving customer demands. This is where software-defined wide area networks (SDWAN) come in. SDWAN enables businesses to boost their network performance, cut down costs, and improve productivity. There are two main types of SDWAN deployment models- Cloud-Native SDWAN and Legacy SDWAN. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at both of these models and discuss their differences, advantages, challenges, and best practices, along with recommendations on choosing the right deployment model for your business.

Introduction to SDWAN Deployment

Software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) solutions help enterprises to intelligently manage and secure their applications and data across the WAN and cloud. SD-WAN consolidates the management of various network functions into a single, centralized interface to simplify deployment and allow companies to quickly react to changing business demands. SDWAN solutions provide a software-defined approach to network infrastructure that leverages a combination of public and private network resources to reduce the cost of connectivity and data transport while enhancing the performance of cloud-based applications, unified communications, and customer experience across the enterprise.

One of the key benefits of SDWAN deployment is the ability to prioritize network traffic based on business needs. This means that critical applications, such as video conferencing or VoIP, can be given priority over less important traffic, ensuring that they always have the necessary bandwidth and low latency to function properly. Additionally, SDWAN solutions can provide real-time visibility into network performance, allowing IT teams to quickly identify and resolve any issues that may arise. This level of control and visibility is essential for businesses that rely heavily on their network infrastructure to support their operations.

What is Cloud-Native SDWAN?

Cloud-native SDWAN is an innovative deployment model designed to take full advantage of cloud services and infrastructure. It offers an end-to-end cloud native architecture for building, managing and orchestrating an integrated SD-WAN and security platform. The cloud-native SD-WAN deployment model delivers a hosted, scalable, and resilient network architecture, which is optimized for cloud delivery, application services, and security.

One of the key benefits of cloud-native SDWAN is its ability to provide a seamless user experience across multiple cloud environments. This is achieved through the use of advanced automation and orchestration tools that enable the network to adapt to changing conditions in real-time. Additionally, cloud-native SDWAN solutions are highly customizable, allowing organizations to tailor their network infrastructure to meet their specific needs and requirements.

Another advantage of cloud-native SDWAN is its ability to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. By leveraging cloud services and infrastructure, organizations can eliminate the need for expensive hardware and reduce the complexity of their network infrastructure. This, in turn, can lead to significant cost savings and improved agility, as IT teams are able to focus on more strategic initiatives rather than managing and maintaining complex network infrastructure.

What is Legacy SDWAN?

Legacy SDWAN deployments are built on traditional network infrastructures that lack modern capabilities and flexibility. These architectures may rely on hardware-based appliances and are often monolithic in nature, making them difficult to scale. Legacy SDWAN solutions are generally deployed in hybrid environments that create silos of technology and make the management of WAN and cloud connectivity complex.

Furthermore, legacy SDWAN solutions may not be able to keep up with the demands of modern applications and workloads. As businesses increasingly rely on cloud-based applications and services, legacy SDWAN may struggle to provide the necessary performance and security. This can lead to poor user experiences and potential security vulnerabilities. Upgrading to a modern SDWAN solution can help businesses overcome these challenges and improve their network performance and security.

Key Differences Between Cloud-Native and Legacy SDWAN Deployment

The main difference between cloud-native and legacy SDWAN is the deployment model and the underlying infrastructure used. Cloud-native SDWAN was designed from the ground up with modern cloud-based architectures in mind and combines all elements of SDWAN into a single platform. In contrast, legacy SDWAN was built on traditional WAN infrastructure and has limitations in scalability and flexibility.

Cloud-native SDWAN leverages the advantages of cloud architectures such as microservices, automation, and elasticity, and scales with ease. In comparison, Legacy SDWAN scaling is limited due to traditional WAN infrastructure, making it difficult to keep up with evolving network demands. Cloud-native SDWAN also offers agility in deployment, reduced operational costs, and simplifies management. However, Legacy SDWAN’s hardware-based approach may require a substantial initial capital investment.

Another key difference between cloud-native and legacy SDWAN deployment is the level of security offered. Cloud-native SDWAN provides enhanced security features such as end-to-end encryption, network segmentation, and zero-trust security models. This is because cloud-native SDWAN is designed to operate in a multi-cloud environment, where security is a top priority. On the other hand, legacy SDWAN may not have the same level of security features, as it was not originally designed for cloud-based environments. This can leave organizations vulnerable to cyber threats and attacks.

Advantages of Cloud-Native SDWAN Deployment

Cloud-native SDWAN offers numerous benefits for businesses, including:

  • Scalability: Scalable architecture to handle any amount of traffic
  • Elasticity: Elasticity that adapts to the changing demands of the network, resulting in efficient resource utilization and cost savings
  • Cost-effectiveness: Reduced CAPEX and OPEX costs due to the ability to move infrastructure to the cloud
  • Deployment speed: Deployed in a much shorter time than hardware-based solutions, with continuous delivery and deployment
  • Centralized management: Centralized management for better control and management of security policies, network functions, and user connectivity

Another advantage of cloud-native SDWAN deployment is improved network performance. With cloud-native SDWAN, businesses can optimize their network performance by leveraging the cloud’s computing power and resources. This results in faster application delivery, reduced latency, and improved user experience. Additionally, cloud-native SDWAN provides better visibility into network performance, allowing businesses to identify and address issues quickly.

Advantages of Legacy SDWAN Deployment

The benefits of legacy SDWAN for organizations are:

  • Stability: Stability due to hardware-based appliance deployment model
  • Customization: Extensive customization that suits an organization’s specific needs
  • Security: Higher levels of security due to hardware-based encryption
  • Predictable costs: Lower maintenance costs and predictable lifecycle costing due to hardware-based deployment

Legacy SDWAN deployment also offers improved network performance and reliability. The hardware-based deployment model ensures that the network is always available, even during peak usage times. This is because the hardware appliances are designed to handle high traffic volumes and can scale up or down as needed.

Another advantage of legacy SDWAN deployment is that it provides better visibility and control over the network. The hardware appliances come with built-in monitoring and management tools that allow IT teams to easily monitor network performance, identify issues, and make necessary adjustments. This level of visibility and control is essential for ensuring that the network is running smoothly and that any issues are quickly resolved.

Challenges of Cloud-Native SDWAN Deployment

Despite several advantages, cloud-native SDWAN has some challenges that need to be addressed. These include:

  • Limited Control: Limited control over infrastructure that can lead to vendor lock-in and insufficient customization.
  • Integration: Integration with existing networks or applications can be challenging, especially in legacy environments.
  • Security and compliance: Lack of direct control over security policies and regulatory compliance issues.
  • Organizational readiness: The organization must have sufficient cloud expertise, suitable network architecture, and governance to support the adoption of cloud-native SDWAN.

Another challenge of cloud-native SDWAN deployment is the complexity of the technology. The deployment process can be complicated, and it requires a high level of technical expertise to manage the network. This can be a significant challenge for organizations that do not have the necessary resources or expertise.

Additionally, cloud-native SDWAN deployment can be costly. The cost of implementing and maintaining the technology can be high, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. This can be a significant barrier to adoption, as many organizations may not have the budget to invest in the technology.

Challenges of Legacy SDWAN Deployment

Legacy SDWAN models have several challenges such as:

  • Scalability issues: Limited scalability leading to capital expenditure, which hampers the organization’s flexibility and agility.
  • Operational complexity: Complex operations due to the use of proprietary hardware appliances and different vendor products, which leads to vendor lock-in and increased management complexity.
  • Manageability: Limited visibility and control of the entire network, leading to poor end-user experience and increased security risks.
  • Costs: Higher CAPEX and OPEX due to substantial initial investment and maintenance costs.

Moreover, legacy SDWAN deployment also faces challenges in terms of compatibility with newer technologies. As the network infrastructure evolves, legacy SDWAN models may not be able to keep up with the latest advancements, leading to compatibility issues and potential downtime. This can result in a loss of productivity and revenue for the organization.

Cost Comparison: Cloud-Native vs Legacy SDWAN Deployment

The costs of SDWAN deployment models vary depending on the organization’s size, number of sites, bandwidth, and other infrastructure variables. In general, cloud-native SDWAN deployment is charged on a pay-as-you-go model, which results in more predictable costs. Meanwhile, legacy SDWAN has higher upfront costs due to initial capital investment but ongoing maintenance and lifecycle costing is predictable.

Best Practices for Cloud-Native SDWAN Deployment

To help organizations’ plan and implement cloud-native SDWAN best practices, we recommend:

  • Start with the right architecture: Ensure the architecture is designed with scalability, security, and flexibility in mind.
  • Assess network requirements: Analyze the existing network to optimize network performance and identify SDWAN deployment needs.
  • Select the right partner: Choose a partner who has expertise in cloud-native SDWAN deployment and experience in deploying and managing multi-cloud environments.
  • Implement security-first approach: Embed security into the design instead of adding it later.
  • Monitor and optimize traffic: Use analytics and visibility tools to optimize traffic across the entire network.

Best Practices for Legacy SDWAN Deployment

Best practices for Legacy SDWAN include:

  • Understand the organization’s objectives: Ensure the deployment model meets the organization’s objectives and needs.
  • Validate infrastructure requirements: Analyze the existing network and ensure infrastructure meets traffic requirements.
  • Select the right partners: Choose a vendor who has expertise in deploying Legacy SDWAN solutions.
  • Plan for the future: Develop and execute a plan to ensure that the solution is future-proof and can adapt to the evolving business needs.

Case Studies: Successful Cloud-Native and Legacy SDWAN Deployments

Many organizations have already successfully deployed cloud-native and legacy SDWAN models. One such example is XYZ, which adopted cloud-native SDWAN and achieved more than 70 percent cost reduction and significant improvements in network agility and management. Another example is ABC, which deployed legacy SDWAN and achieved the flexibility and customization that suited their specific networking requirements.

Future Trends in SDWAN Deployment: Cloud-Native vs Legacy

As we move ahead, we can see that cloud-native SDWAN is becoming the preferred option due to the shift from hardware to software-centric infrastructure. With the adoption of cloud technologies, businesses will need to manage SDWAN services across multiple clouds and platforms. In contrast, legacy SDWAN deployment will remain relevant mainly for organizations that prefer control over the network infrastructure and have a capital expenditure budget for the large upfront investment.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right SDWAN Deployment for Your Business

Choosing the right SDWAN deployment model can be a challenging decision, but it is essential to choose the one that aligns with the organization’s specific needs. Cloud-native SDWAN has many advantages such as scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness, but its integration with existing infrastructure may be challenging. Legacy SDWAN offers reliability, customization, and security but has limited scalability. Both deployment models have their advantages and challenges, and it is crucial to choose the right deployment model based on business requirements, security policies, and budget.

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