Early adopter finds SD-WAN yields better management, costs, uptime

Managing the Wide Area Network (WAN) for Redmond Inc., a supplier of industrial and commercial products – from salt that’s used to protect winter roadways to organic dairy products and health items – is an easier job today for the company’s technical project manager Aaron Gabrielson than it was a year ago.

Redmond manages a phone system, point of sale and fax centrally out of headquarters in Heber City, Utah, which means each of Redmond’s 10 branch sites across the Midwest need a reliable connection back to headquarters in Utah. That’s easier for some sites, like those in Salt Lake City, than others, such as rural areas where there may only be a handful of workers on a farm.

It was here that a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) came to the rescue. Gartner estimates that SD-WAN has less than 5% market share today, but it predicts that up to 25% of users will manage their WAN through software within two years. Revenue from SD-WAN vendors is growing at 59% annually, Gartner estimates, and it’s expected to become a $1.3 billion market by 2020. Redmond is an early adopter.

+More on Network World: How to make the transition to SD-WAN +

One of the chief characteristics of an SD-WAN is its ability to manage multiple types of connections – from MPLS to broadband to LTE. For Redmond, that’s been hugely helpful.

Gabrielson buys cheap commercial-grade Internet connections at his rural branch sites. The SD-WAN program from VeloCloud aggregates at least two links together to create a single bundled link that’s stronger than either one individually. It provides rural sites with enough bandwidth to use voice over IP (VoIP) and process credit card transactions.

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