The software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN or SDWAN) is a specific application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology applied to WAN connections, which are used to connect enterprise networks – including branch offices and data centers – over large geographic distances.
SD-WAN is an acronym for software-defined networking in a wide area network (WAN). An SD-WAN simplifies the management and operation of a WAN by decoupling (separating) the networking hardware from its control mechanism. This concept is similar to how software- defined networking implements virtualization technology to improve data center management and operation.
A key application of an SD-WAN is to allow companies to build higher-performance WANs using lower-cost and commercially available Internet access, enabling businesses to partially or wholly replace more expensive private WAN connection technologies.
By centralizing control in the cloud and combining functions at the edge, customers gain greater flexibility and performance combined with better economics. SD-WAN can also be delivered as-a-service, so networking can be consumed the same way as cloud services.