Why SD WAN makes sense for multi-cloud infrastructure

Today, networks must be more intelligent and agile than ever. They must be able to support new applications and use cases without sacrificing performance, security, or latency. It’s no surprise that traditional networks struggle to keep up with such a rapid pace of transformation.

Migrating applications and workloads to the cloud gives the freedom to rapidly scale and connect to essential applications from remote devices at geographically dispersed locations – something that is more mission-critical than ever. With such benefits, it’s unsurprising that cloud adoption has grown to the extent that today 94% of companies globally are on the cloud and 85% of business have over half their workloads running on the cloud.

At the same time, SD WAN has worked its way along the hype curve. By the end of 2019, over half of new deployments of managed WAN solutions incorporated SD WAN technology, and around 80% of enterprises will have set-out their SD WAN strategy within the next 2 years[ref].

With cloud traffic much harder to predict than locally hosted legacy applications, businesses are increasingly looking to SD WAN to optimise their cloud experience and improve productivity. A recent IDC report lists the need for seamless, secure cloud connectivity as a key driver for enterprise SD WAN adoption.

Adopting SD WAN as an integrated solution for managing both WAN and cloud infrastructures brings a host of benefits to the enterprise:

Operational simplicity

On top of the challenge of managing a WAN, which may include a wide range of access types (Internet, MPLS, or wireless), applications, and physical sites; the growth of multi-cloud adds another level of complexity. In our recent State of the cloud study, we found that 86% of businesses surveyed said they’re having to manage multiple cloud environments. SD WAN offers a solution to this challenge. It unifies operations of today’s complex networks, enabling integrated management of branch sites, data centres, IoT, and multi-cloud environments onto a single platform.

With a carrier-managed SD WAN solution, enterprises can also benefit from an end-to-end SLA, giving added service assurance across the entire network.

Performance optimisation

SD WAN can assess cloud-based applications and route them across the most appropriate link to improve performance. It offers control over traffic, prioritisation and intelligent routing for key applications, and overall improvement of end-user experience of IaaS and SaaS applications, which are increasingly critical for business productivity. With the analytics features available on most SD WAN platforms, businesses have full visibility of traffic patterns and performance across all routes, arming them with the knowledge required to react quickly to any changes or disruption.


Our recent paper revealed that security concerns remain the top cloud migration challenge for enterprises, with 59% of survey respondents listing it as a major challenge in their cloud migration journeys. Connecting to the cloud over SD WAN addresses this concern with the ability to extend a full stack of security features (including Dedicated Firewall, Network Address Translation (NAT), encryption, and DDoS protection) into the multi-cloud. SD WAN also enables enterprises to segment traffic to isolate and protect the traffic they deem most sensitive.

Agility and flexibility

Unifying management of the enterprise network and cloud with SD WAN increases the overall flexibility of the network. This allows it to match the dynamism of the cloud, offering a much quicker way to scale up bandwidth, as well as add and configure new sites as business requirements change.

Cost efficiency

When compared with setting up multiple dedicated connections between physical sites and the cloud, SD WAN with multi-cloud support offers a more agile, cost-efficient approach. With this feature, it’s possible to connect multiple sites on the enterprise WAN to multiple cloud environments using a single transit gateway. You can even enable cloud-to-cloud connectivity to reduce the need to backhaul traffic into the network and lower egress costs to the public cloud.

The availability of SD WAN as a powerful new tool for connecting to the cloud does not mean the death of dedicated connectivity options, whether over premium Internet or Ethernet. However, it does provide a compelling alternative for enterprises juggling the management of their hybrid WAN and multiple cloud environments.

Colt recently launched Colt SD WAN Multi-Cloud – a feature available on our award-winning SD WAN service which enables direct, reliable and secure connectivity towards multiple clouds via Colt Cloud Gateway. Find out more here.


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