What Software Defined Networking Can Do for IoT
“Managing the corporate traffic flows generated by millions of connected devices requires a new paradigm,” Deal said. “Planning for these massive networks will be enhanced by SD-WAN’s benefit of better end-user visibility into the network and deployment will be streamlined because of easier and faster configuration of less complex (and expensive) CPE.”
Also, SD-WAN can help enterprises manage network architectures in which the edge is becoming the center of data processing and analytics. “SD-WAN will play a critical role in connecting, securing and pushing processing power closer to edge devices,” Cisco’s Oswal said. “This will increase performance of IoT platforms by reducing latency for processing at the edge, and moving security processes — intrusion detection/prevention, DNS-layer security and advanced malware protection — near the IoT devices.”
Evolving Selling Points
One of the original arguments for deploying SD-WAN was that it could help lower network expenses for enterprise by employing capacity pools that can help enterprises reduce their reliance on expensive MPLS links by maximizing use of available capacity from other circuits. As more devices and applications emerged in enterprises amid trends like IoT, however, the case for deploying SD-WAN has evolved to become just as much or more about application performance and security in complex network environments as it is about cost savings, according to Oswal. The technology can reduce the need to backhaul traffic from IoT devices all the way to the enterprise data center, instead, transporting that traffic on dedicated secure segments to edge processors that can filter and analyze much of the IoT device data, while transmitting only refined results to clouds for further analysis. This leads to less transport expense, but also faster, more secure application processing.
“Isolating IoT on secure segments ensures that any compromised elements cannot infect the corporate network,” Oswal said.
With its ability to segment traffic, visualize best possible route paths and apply appropriate security and network usage policies to different devices on the network, it could make sense for enterprises to have SD-WAN overlays in place before they go much further down their IoT road maps. That might not be something some enterprise managers have thought about as they pursued their IoT strategies, but putting the new software layer in place to simplify control of an existing network architecture could make that much easier to introduce a plethora of new IoT-connected devices to the network, according to Deal.
“Because SD-WAN is grounded in internet-based networks, providing increased, aggregate network performance at lower cost with greater flexibility and control, it is naturally aligned with IoT networks,” Deal said. “With the various transport connections that could be used with IoT, SD-WAN provides the required reliability, visibility and security for the traffic.”
Ultimately, IoT is just one emerging enterprise network architecture of many. It doesn’t have a unique relationship with SD-WAN, but like other technologies in the enterprise can leverage SD-WAN for cost, performance, efficiency and security benefits.
“SD-WAN is a foundational component in the transformation of enterprise network architectures,” Antlitz said. “It’s one of the preliminary things enterprises need to take the next steps on their evolutionary journey.”