Quick 6 With Sonny Sachdeva: SD-WAN

By Michael Edstrom on December 22, 2020

Sonny Sachdeva is Red River’s Networking Practice Lead, and recently led the development of our new Managed SD-WAN service. I recently sat down with him to get a better understanding of SD-WAN and its benefits. Here are the six questions I asked:


What exactly is SD-WAN? 

SD in SD-WAN stands for Software Defined. The idea behind Software Defined anything is to separate the control function from the data flow. Hence, SD-WAN is Software Defined scheme for the Wide Area Network. By separating the control function of the WAN from the data path we can manage the network holistically and centrally without getting in the path of data flow. All policies – QoS, Security etc. can be designed and deployed from single portal, very similar to managing your wireless environment or your Virtual Machines from central controller.   


How is SD-WAN approach different from legacy approach to networking?

Traditionally, Wan has been labor intensive and costly to manage due to shortage of local resources and lack of visibility ie. telemetry. In the past Wide Area Networks were engineered to connect the home office or co-locations to branch locations where most of the resources were centralized and under physical control of the organization. However, we are seeing applications moving towards the cloud – AWS, Azure, GCP, Software as a Service (SaaS) and users working remotely.  These appear to be long term trends where Covid-19 has accelerated the shift. 

The traditional WAN cannot meet these challenges adequately.  Software Defined WAN (SDWAN), addresses these challenges by:

  •  Allowing multiple devices to be managed holistically from a single pane of glass
  •  Natively recognizing thousands of applications and applying traffic forwarding policies accordingly
  •  Securely encrypting all traffic across the WAN links
  •  Segmenting different types of traffic
  •  Allowing an organization to become more agile by becoming transport agnostic – 4G LTE, 5G, Broadband circuits can be used securely
  • Integrating with cloud-based security or deploying security at the WAN edge


Which organizations benefit the most from SD-WAN? 

SS: SD-WAN is beneficial to any organization that has a WAN presence and is subject to the challenges mentioned above.  The network is evolving to help with the digital transformation that so many industries are undergoing.  Applications and users are not static anymore and configuring WAN edge devices individually via CLI does not scale well.


Where do you see Software Defined Wide Area Networking going in the future?

SD-WAN adoption is only going to increase in the future, especially in the next few years.  Digital Transformation is a major driver of this change.  Service Providers have been early adopters of SD-WAN as their clients are moving away from MPLS towards broadband.  We are now seeing more organizations adopt SD-WAN themselves as they realize its benefits.


What is the difference between Red River’s Managed SD-WAN and SD-WAN?

Adopting any new technology can be difficult, especially if your I.T. team is overwhelmed with day to day duties.  Red River enables organizations to realize the benefits of SD-WAN by helping them quickly adopt this new technology without re-training existing staff or hiring additional headcount. Our Pre-Sales engineering team holds a detailed design discussion and creates a custom-tailored solution which addresses the client’s current state, pain points, critical applications and 3-5-year growth plans. Upon purchase of the solution, our Technology Adoption team deploys the SD-WAN solution and hands-off to our Managed Services team for ongoing management and support.


What makes Red River a proven or reliable Managed SD-WAN provider?

Red River Managed Services team consists of well over 100 employees across 3 locations within the United States – Chantilly, VA; New Hampshire and California.  Our engineering staff is extensively trained in SD-WAN and supports our client’s operations 24/7, 365 days a year. With our industry and technical expertise, we can provide managed service assistance for both simple inquiries and advanced technology issues.