In SD-WAN We Trust: But Something Is Still Missing

SD-WAN seems to be approaching the peak of its hype cycle. It is mentioned in quite a few articles. The overall view on it is extremely optimistic. Predictions on the segment’s growth are bold. For example, IDC anticipates that the SD-WAN market will grow at a rate of 90 percent, hitting $6 billion by 2020 (from $225 million today).

There is hype for sure. Some of the latest headlines read, “SD-WAN Creates Serious Competition to MPLS” and “SD-WAN Can Improve Oil, Gas Communications.” What’s next? Maybe, “SD-WAN is the answer to the global energy crisis?”

The reality is that SD-WAN does address some important connectivity challenges. It resolves WAN flexibility issues, delivers centralized control, and reduces network costs. However, by itself, it is not a complete global connectivity solution in today’s environment.

The reason is, SD-WAN falls short in one important area.

Delivering Application Performance in the Cloud Era
Digital transformation of the enterprise—driven by the combination of the cloud and mobility—is significantly changing how WANs are architected, built, and managed. The onset of cloud computing, in particular, has redefined the role of the corporate network as a critical component of ensuring application performance.

Most SD-WAN solutions, though, act simply as navigators at the edge and inherit some of the shortfalls of legacy solutions like MPLS and the public Internet for cloud connectivity. The focus of these SD-WAN solutions is only to reduce network costs and increase network flexibility; not to enhance application performance. And that’s the missing piece.


Cloud adoption rates are showing no signs of slowing down. This increases congestion on the public Internet and creates a great need for the integration of cloud-delivered WAN services, not only to deliver flexibility and cost savings, but also to ensure performance, availability, and security for mission-critical applications hosted in the cloud.

Unlike Aryaka’s holistic connectivity solution, where edge intelligence is only a part of a larger cloud and SaaS application acceleration engine, most SD-WAN solutions rely on path selection technology using policy-based routing techniques to efficiently manage the flow of traffic over a hybrid network.

Then what is driving their adoption?
In the past, businesses turned to MPLS links to improve performance of their on-premises applications, despite paying exorbitantly for them. With SD-WAN technologies, companies can deploy hybrid WAN-based architectures to swap out a part of expensive MPLS bandwidth with broadband and other cost-effective alternatives for transport of noncritical data and applications. The result is that mission-critical traffic can be routed to the fastest and most reliable line (like MPLS), and less critical traffic can be sent over relatively slower links.

And all of this can be controlled using a centralized network orchestrator that enables IT teams to modify network configurations on the fly based on changing application priorities. For example, during a company-wide video conference, the network can easily be configured to direct all video and voice traffic to low latency MPLS links, while pushing the rest of the traffic down to lower performance Internet links. After the video conference, the network could fall back to its default configuration.

But SD-WAN alone is inadequate
While MPLS delivers better performance than the Internet, businesses usually need to wait anywhere between 60 and 120 days (depending on where the branch offices are located) to deploy the links, even if they’re just moving their branch office across the street. And by extension, hybrid SD-WAN architectures have the same problem.

Additionally, because MPLS provides only limited connectivity to a few cloud platforms, most businesses still need to run their traffic over the congested and unreliable public Internet for SaaS and cloud connectivity.

With more and more mission-critical applications moving to the cloud, SD-WAN based network solutions will continue to be a chokepoint, due their dependence on MPLS for application performance.

What is the Aryaka difference?
In one of my earlier blog posts, I explored the reasons why SD-WAN alone is not the answer for solving application performance issues experienced by many organizations today. I talked about how Aryaka is the only global connectivity solution that addresses application performance issues when it comes to cloud services.

Here, our software-defined network platform combines edge-intelligence capabilities like link aggregation, path selection, load balancing, among others with a global private network and WAN optimization technology to solve the challenges of network connectivity and application performance in an era of cloud- and SaaS-based computing.

And our customers have experienced these benefits first hand. Skullcandy achieved up to 10X faster performance for their cloud-hosted SAP ByDesign ERP platform over Aryaka. And InvenSense 17X faster Office 365 performance globally.


By aggregating bandwidth from top-tier telcos around the world and moving it to the cloud, we enable our customers to experience low, stable, and consistent latency in a matter of days. They simply need to connect to one of our globally distributed points-of-presence (POPs) using a business-grade broadband link on the last mile.

And WAN optimization is baked into our service, delivering accelerated access to both on-premises and SaaS-based applications and cloud services. As Bjarne Munch and Neil Rickard from Gartner note, “Aryaka is one of the primary innovators, embedding WAN optimization within its WAN infrastructure to offer WAN optimization as a service.”

If you want to experience the benefits of SD-WAN technology AND enhanced cloud/SaaS application performance, give Aryaka a try today!

About the author

Gary Sevounts
Gary Sevounts is the Chief Marketing Officer at Aryaka Networks, and is responsible for Aryaka’s global marketing efforts. He has extensive experience with software and SaaS products in the IT infrastructure and security space, as well as marketing and sales technology, having held marketing and product management leadership roles with a number of industry leaders.
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