What are Edge Devices in SD-WAN?
Edge devices are components of a Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) that provide secure connectivity between an organization’s distributed offices and other remote sites.
Edge devices act as gateways, providing the ability to route data from one site to another, while simultaneously providing firewalling, encryption, Quality of Service (QoS), and other services vital for a secure and optimized WAN solution.
Although these edge devices are managed by the SD-WAN platform, their underlying architecture can vary widely depending on the vendor.
What are the Types of Edge Devices?
The most common types of edge devices include:
- Physical appliances: These are the traditional hardware-based WAN edge devices. They offer firewalling, encryption, Quality of Service (QoS), and support for multiple WAN connections.
- Virtual machines (VMs): Virtual machines are becoming more popular as they offer the same functionality as physical appliances, but with much greater flexibility and scalability.
- Hybrid devices: These are edge devices that combine both hardware and virtual components. They provide the ability to manage multiple WAN connections, while also allowing for greater customization of application performance.
- Cloud-based services: Cloud services offer an even greater level of flexibility and scalability, allowing you to manage your entire WAN solution from the cloud. These services offer a range of features including firewalling, encryption, Quality of Service (QoS), and more.
What are the Use Cases of Edge Devices?
Here are some typical use cases of edge devices:
- Interconnecting remote offices and branches: Edge devices provide secure connectivity between distributed offices, allowing for better collaboration and communication.
- Securing critical data: These components offer firewalling, encryption, and other security features to protect sensitive business data from unauthorized access.
- Improving application performance: Edge devices provide the ability to prioritize traffic, ensuring that important applications get the bandwidth they need for optimal performance.
- Optimizing WAN costs: These components can also help in reducing overall WAN costs by leveraging multiple connections and providing QoS features for better utilization of resources.
How Does Edge Device Work in SD-WAN?
The working of an Edge device in SD-WAN is quite simple. It acts as a gateway between the different sites connected to an organization’s network, providing secure connectivity and allowing data to be routed between these sites.
Edge devices are managed centrally through the SD-WAN platform, giving organizations the ability to monitor, manage and optimize their WAN, while ensuring that all the necessary firewalling, encryption, QoS, and other services are in place.
- A company may have offices in three different locations. To ensure secure and optimal connectivity between these sites, the organization would need to deploy an edge device at each of the locations. These devices will then be managed centrally through the SD-WAN platform, allowing for better visibility and control over the WAN. This ensures that data is routed securely and applications benefit from the right QoS features, making it easier for the organization to achieve a more efficient and cost-effective WAN solution.
What are the Benefits of Edge Devices?
There are several benefits associated with using edge devices in an SD-WAN solution:
- Centralized management: Edge devices are managed centrally through the SD-WAN platform, providing the ability to monitor and optimize WAN performance from a single point of control.
- Improved application performance: The ability to prioritize traffic via QoS features allows for better application performance and ensures that important applications are given the bandwidth they need.
- Reduced costs: Edge devices can help reduce WAN costs by taking advantage of multiple connections and providing better utilization of resources.
- Enhanced security: These components provide firewalling, encryption, and other security features to ensure that data is kept safe from unauthorized access.
- Increased flexibility: The scalability and flexibility offered by edge devices allow organizations to tailor their WAN solution according to their individual needs.
How We Can Reduce Cost With the Help of Edge Devices?
Here are some of the ways in which edge devices can help organizations reduce WAN costs:
- Leveraging multiple connections: Edge devices allow for the use of multiple connections to create a cost-effective WAN solution. This approach ensures that traffic is routed efficiently and helps to keep costs down.
- Optimizing bandwidth usage: Edge devices provide better control over bandwidth utilization, allowing organizations to optimize the use of their resources.
- Reducing usage costs: By utilizing multiple connections and taking advantage of QoS features, edge devices help reduce usage costs associated with WAN services.
- Using Virtualization: Edge devices can be virtualized to reduce hardware costs and improve scalability. This makes it easier for organizations to adapt their WAN solution to changing needs.
- Let’s say an organization has offices in three different locations. To provide secure connectivity between all these sites, the company would normally need to install a separate line at each location, with associated hardware and maintenance costs. With the help of edge devices and SD-WAN, however, the company can reduce these costs by leveraging multiple connections and providing bandwidth optimization features. This would allow them to efficiently use their resources while ensuring secure connectivity between all sites.