Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is gaining increasing traction as enterprises boost their investment into open, flexible cloud solutions.

An overlay architecture which works across multiple platforms, SD-WAN provides a networking foundation with easier management tools than traditional WANs by moving the control layer to the cloud and into the hands of the customer.

Redvine, an African SD-WAN specialist based in Johannesburg, provides a vendor and service provider agnostic service that deals with real world issues experienced by many of its customers throughout the continent.

“The main benefit of Redvine SD-WAN solutions is that they provide central network control and traffic management as well as network automation,” says Binesh George, CEO of Redvine. “Organisations are able to design and deploy their network from a central location, and rapidly implement changes to network hardware. The ability to take back control of the network from the traditional Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) service provider is a main feature of SD-WAN that is appealing to multiple enterprises.”

Although vendors providing SD-WAN products offer similar services, George believes that it is Redvine’s vendor-agnostic approach that provides the most effective benefits to the customer. “We believe in solving customer issues, and not locking them into specific product sets that may only partially solve those problems,” he says. “We are constantly evaluating vendor offers and putting them together in ways that best benefit our customers.”

Redvine’s SD-WAN solutions allow organisations to engage multiple connection types in their networks, from broadband , multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), ADSL, VSAT to wireless LTE. SD-WAN allows organisations to engage multiple connection types in their networks, from multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) to broadband to wireless LTE. SD-WAN increases network flexibility, allowing businesses to scale connectivity on demand to deliver the best quality, most efficient and cost-effective connections between their various nodes and branches. As most organisations have no plans to drop any single connectivity channel from their WAN, SD-WAN solutions allow them to mix and match services, according to their requirements.

“Customers can, therefore, take advantage of the technology to rely less on expensive, private MPLS connections and use cheaper connections for less essential data, while maintaining or improving their service level agreements and quality of experience. Most importantly, SD-WAN technology also lets businesses switch carriers, mix and match them based on bandwidth availability, and quickly and easily create new connections to remote locations.

“SD-WAN solutions are especially well suited to businesses that have multiple branch locations, as well as heavy traffic between those locations and to increasingly cloud-based destinations,” says George. “In certain countries Africa in particular, SD-WAN technology works well where bandwidth throughput is low and costs are high. Although SD-WAN requires an initial tech investment, the medium-term savings potential is significant, and improved network efficiencies translate into better business operations right from the beginning.”

One of the major advantages of an SD-WAN architecture is the network security it provides. SD-WAN services can integrate security, policy and orchestration by unifying secure connectivity. Organisations will benefit from end-to-end encryption across an entire network, including cloud and Internet. Devices and endpoints are authenticated and managed from a central point, and communications between main and branch offices is secure.

“Redvine has been in the African market for some time now, with deployments in nine countries, and we have a number of large-scale customers that use various custom-made solutions chosen from our stable of products and service offerings,” says George. “Our relationships with the world’s best vendors (including 128 Technology, Velocloud, Silicom, and Cisco products) means we can tailor-make an offering that best solves the customer’s requirements.”