The growing role of SD WAN in business continuity and disaster recovery

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My introduction to network Disaster Recovery Planning and Business Continuity Management (BCM) came supporting a company with a data centre in Oklahoma. They reminded me that they had been forced to recover from an extreme weather event in the past.

While planning for that inevitable tornado in Oklahoma, the BCM plan consisted of scripting for a CLI based WAN in order to re-configure routes, migrate IP Addresses to a disaster recovery centre and reconfigure DHCP and DNS services; all of which would take time to manually configure or run through scripts and playbooks on a per device basis.

As organisations are having to adjust network resources to cope with lockdown and a changing world, SD WAN has been used to quickly implement changes and deploy new services.

SD WAN is recognised for its ability to deploy new services quickly and without error from pre-programmed device and service templates.  Topology and service changes can be implemented either during a known business change, such as an acquisition, or on initiation of a Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity plan.

In the last few months we’ve seen how SD WAN solutions can push pre-programmed and tested service templates to all sites on a network, quickly accommodating changing business requirements.  As an example, these changes could be implemented within a single new service template and deployed within hours:

  • New overlay topologies to build logical paths to remote access gateways or Cloud Service Provider Front End POPs to enable home working
  • New network segments or VRFs to extend restricted users into different parts of the WAN securely as they are required to work from different locations
  • New prioritisation rules to guarantee business critical applications: For example, customer voice contact centre traffic that is now traversing different segments of the WAN
  • Enable local break-out of remote sites with embedded SASE (Secure Access Service EDGE) security policies to allow applications to route directly to SaaS, around constraints within the corporate network infrastructure
  • Provide the ability to react in real time to a dynamic & changing environment using rich analytics and application-based dashboards to show real-time network utilisation.

Businesses are finding themselves having to adapt to a scenario that would have almost been unimaginable 12 months ago. As SD WAN adoption accelerates, we’re seeing many using it to take advantage of highly available secure high bandwidth connectivity combined with global orchestration and agile application visibility.


James Halberstadt, SD WAN Sales Specialist, Colt

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