July 18, 2024

Distributed SDWAN Deployment vs Centralized SDWAN Deployment

8 min read
Discover the pros and cons of distributed SDWAN deployment versus centralized SDWAN deployment in this informative article.
Two networks

Two networks

Software-defined wide area networking (SDWAN) is a revolutionary technology that has enabled businesses to simplify their networking infrastructure and reduce their operational costs. The SDWAN technology allows businesses to connect with their remote sites and branch locations through a centralized and secure network infrastructure. However, not all SDWAN deployments are created equal, and there are two primary models of SDWAN deployment – distributed SDWAN deployment and centralized SDWAN deployment. In this article, we will discuss the key differences between these two deployment models, their advantages and disadvantages, and the factors to consider when choosing between them.

Understanding the Basics of SDWAN Deployment

Before diving deep into the differences between the two primary models of SDWAN deployment, it’s essential to understand the basics of SDWAN deployment. SDWAN deployment is a network infrastructure that enables businesses to connect their remote sites and branch locations to a central network using software-defined networking (SDN) technology. This infrastructure uses a variety of technologies such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and broadband internet connections to form one secure, stable, and flexible network for all sites.

SDWAN deployment offers several benefits to businesses, including increased network performance, improved security, and reduced costs. With SDWAN, businesses can prioritize critical applications and traffic, ensuring that they receive the necessary bandwidth and resources to function optimally. Additionally, SDWAN provides enhanced security features such as encryption and firewall protection, which helps to safeguard against cyber threats and data breaches. Finally, SDWAN can reduce costs by utilizing less expensive broadband connections instead of relying solely on costly MPLS connections.

Pros and Cons of Distributed SDWAN Deployment

A distributed SDWAN deployment is the process of deploying SDWAN infrastructure on-site at the remote or branch locations. In a distributed deployment, each site has its own dedicated SDWAN gateway, which is then connected to the main data center using a VPN or other secure networking method. The primary advantage of distributed SDWAN deployment is that it provides redundancy, resiliency, and a high degree of control to each site. However, this model can be costly to set up and maintain, and it requires a high degree of technical expertise to configure and manage.

Another advantage of distributed SDWAN deployment is that it can improve application performance by reducing latency and improving network efficiency. By deploying SDWAN infrastructure on-site, traffic can be routed directly to the internet or cloud services, rather than being backhauled to the main data center. This can result in faster application response times and a better user experience. However, it is important to note that distributed SDWAN deployment may not be suitable for all organizations, as it requires a significant investment in hardware and infrastructure. Additionally, it may not be necessary for organizations with a small number of remote sites or limited network traffic.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Centralized SDWAN Deployment

A centralized SDWAN deployment is the process of deploying the SDWAN infrastructure in a central data center location. In a centralized deployment, all the remote sites and branch locations are connected to this central data center, and all internet traffic is routed through the central location. The primary advantage of a centralized SDWAN deployment is the ease of management and cost savings. However, this model may not be suitable for businesses with remote sites that require high levels of network traffic, as it can lead to congestion and latency issues.

Another advantage of a centralized SDWAN deployment is the ability to implement consistent security policies across all remote sites. With all internet traffic routed through the central location, it is easier to monitor and control access to sensitive data and applications. This can help to improve overall network security and reduce the risk of data breaches.

On the other hand, a centralized SDWAN deployment may not be the best option for businesses with remote sites located in areas with poor internet connectivity. In such cases, routing all internet traffic through the central location can result in slow network speeds and poor user experience. In addition, a centralized deployment may not be suitable for businesses with strict compliance requirements, as it can be difficult to ensure that all remote sites are fully compliant with regulations and standards.

Key Differences Between Distributed and Centralized SDWAN Deployment

The primary difference between distributed and centralized SDWAN deployment is the location of the SDWAN infrastructure. In a distributed deployment, the SDWAN gateway is located on-site at the remote or branch location, while in a centralized deployment, the SDWAN gateway is located in a central data center. Distributed deployment provides better control, redundancy, and resiliency while centralized deployment provides ease of management and cost savings.

Another important factor to consider when choosing between distributed and centralized SDWAN deployment is the network traffic flow. In a distributed deployment, the network traffic flows directly from the remote or branch location to the cloud or data center, bypassing the central location. This can result in faster application performance and reduced latency. In contrast, in a centralized deployment, all network traffic flows through the central location, which can lead to increased latency and potential bottlenecks. Therefore, it is important to carefully evaluate your organization’s network traffic patterns and requirements before deciding on a deployment model.

Impact of Network Size on the Choice of SDWAN Deployment Model

The size of a business’s network infrastructure plays a crucial role in determining which SDWAN deployment model is most appropriate. In smaller networks, a centralized deployment may be more suitable and cost-effective. In larger networks with complex branch and remote site requirements, a distributed deployment may be more suitable, given the decentralized nature of the infrastructure.

It is important to note that the choice of SDWAN deployment model also depends on the specific needs and goals of the business. For example, if the business requires high levels of security and control over their network traffic, a hybrid deployment model that combines both centralized and distributed elements may be the best option. Additionally, businesses with a geographically dispersed workforce may benefit from a cloud-based SDWAN deployment model that provides easy access to network resources from any location.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Distributed and Centralized SDWAN Deployment

When choosing between a distributed and centralized SDWAN deployment model, there are several factors to consider. These include the size of the business’s network infrastructure, the technical expertise required to set up and manage the network, the potential cost savings, the level of security required, and the degree of control each site requires over its network infrastructure.

Another important factor to consider is the location of the business’s sites. If the sites are spread out across a large geographic area, a distributed SDWAN deployment may be more effective in ensuring reliable connectivity and reducing latency. On the other hand, if the sites are located in a centralized area, a centralized SDWAN deployment may be more efficient and cost-effective.

It is also important to consider the scalability of the SDWAN deployment. A distributed deployment may be easier to scale as new sites are added, but a centralized deployment may be more scalable in terms of managing and optimizing network traffic across all sites.

Advancements in Technology Driving the Adoption of Distributed SDWAN Deployment

The advent of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled businesses to deploy more distributed SDWAN infrastructure. These technologies provide greater control, redundancy, and resiliency to each site and can help businesses reduce their overall operational costs.

Moreover, the rise of cloud computing has also contributed to the adoption of distributed SDWAN deployment. With cloud-based applications becoming more prevalent, businesses need a network infrastructure that can support the increased traffic and data flow. Distributed SDWAN can provide the necessary bandwidth and security to ensure that cloud-based applications run smoothly.

Another factor driving the adoption of distributed SDWAN deployment is the increasing demand for remote work. With more employees working from home or other remote locations, businesses need a network infrastructure that can support remote access and ensure secure connectivity. Distributed SDWAN can provide secure access to corporate resources from any location, without compromising on performance or security.

The Role of Network Security in Choosing Between Distributed and Centralized SDWAN

The security of a business’s network infrastructure is critical in determining whether distributed or centralized SDWAN deployment is most appropriate. A distributed deployment provides more control and better redundancy, making it more secure against network attacks. However, a centralized deployment provides more ease of management, making it easier to implement security policies across the entire network infrastructure.

Another important factor to consider when choosing between distributed and centralized SDWAN is the level of expertise and resources available within the organization. A distributed deployment requires more technical expertise and resources to manage and maintain, as each location has its own set of devices and configurations. On the other hand, a centralized deployment can be managed by a smaller team with less technical expertise, as all devices and configurations are managed from a central location.

It is also important to consider the specific security needs of the business. For example, if the business deals with sensitive data or operates in a highly regulated industry, a distributed deployment may be more appropriate to ensure maximum security and compliance. However, if the business primarily deals with non-sensitive data and has a smaller IT team, a centralized deployment may be more practical and cost-effective.

Case Studies: Real-World Examples of Successful Distributed and Centralized SDWAN Deployments

Real-world examples of successful SDWAN deployments can provide insights into which deployment model is most suitable for different network types and sizes. Some businesses have successfully deployed distributed SDWAN infrastructure, while others have chosen a centralized approach. These examples can help businesses determine which deployment model is most appropriate for their specific needs.

For example, a large multinational corporation with multiple branch offices and data centers may benefit from a distributed SDWAN deployment. This allows for local breakout of internet traffic at each branch office, reducing latency and improving application performance. On the other hand, a smaller business with a single headquarters and limited IT resources may find a centralized SDWAN deployment more manageable and cost-effective.

Scalability Considerations for Distributed vs Centralized SDWAN Deployments

Scalability is a crucial consideration when deploying SDWAN infrastructure. Distributed deployment can be more challenging to scale, as each site requires its own SDWAN gateway. However, a centralized deployment can lead to congestion and latency issues when scaling to larger networks. Businesses must consider the scalability of each deployment model when choosing between distributed and centralized SDWAN deployment.

Another important factor to consider when it comes to scalability is the type of traffic being transmitted over the SDWAN network. For example, if the network is primarily used for data transfer, a centralized deployment may be more suitable as it can handle large volumes of data more efficiently. On the other hand, if the network is used for real-time applications such as video conferencing or VoIP, a distributed deployment may be more appropriate as it can reduce latency and improve overall performance. Ultimately, businesses must carefully evaluate their specific needs and requirements to determine the most scalable SDWAN deployment model for their organization.

How to Effectively Manage Your Network with a Distributed or Centralized SDWAN Deployment

The effective management of SDWAN infrastructure is critical to its success. Whether deploying a distributed or centralized model, businesses must have the necessary technical expertise to manage and configure the network infrastructure properly. Network managers must develop a clear strategy for monitoring, troubleshooting, and upgrading the network infrastructure to ensure that it remains secure, stable, and optimal.

In conclusion, SDWAN deployment is a flexible and cost-effective solution for connecting remote sites and branch locations. Businesses must choose the most suitable deployment model based on their specific network requirements, size, and technical expertise. Both distributed and centralized SDWAN deployment models have their advantages and disadvantages, and businesses must weigh these factors when making their decision.

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