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How SD-WAN Simplifies Healthcare Network Infrastructure

SD-WAN simplifies healthcare network infrastructure by centralizing management functions and providing more network visibility.

SD-WAN simplifies healthcare network infrastructure

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) are growing in healthcare because of their potential for centralized management and better software, simplifying healthcare network infrastructure.

The technology’s potential has inspired vendors to produce more cutting edge network products, as well as partner with other network vendors to produce more complete software-defined solutions, according to a recent Transparency report.

Software-defined networking (SDN) uses virtualization to remove the intelligent management software from network hardware, which creates a centralized, more intelligent, and easier managed network architecture. SDN allows network administrators to manage the network through abstraction, which gives apps and programs a simplified platform to operate on. 

The report stated that some vendors are offering on-premise and cloud-based WAN management solutions to tap into more service providers and large companies.

The report predicted that the global SD-WAN market will grow at a 51 percent CAGR through 2025, which is a much higher growth rate than other advanced infrastructure technologies. This growth is due to the amount of data organizations handle, and the need for network infrastructure that can scale to meet the demands.

“Massive proliferation of data, worldwide, and increased flexibility offered by SD-WAN solution is the primary growth driver in the global SD-WAN market. Soaring popularity of cloud computing is also leading to growth in the market,” the report stated. “The additional safety and ease in resource provisioning associated with SD-WAN solutions are also expected to add to the market's growth." 

However, the cost of implementation may keep some healthcare organizations from adopting SD-WAN in the near future. Organizations need to justify a full-scale network overhaul to fully deploy an SD-WAN solution.

Wireless vendors have been collaborating and merging with the intent of building better, more robust networking solutions.

Back in April, Riverbed Technology announced its acquisition of Xirrus to expand its SD-WAN and cloud networking solution, Riverbed SteelConnect. 

“In today’s digital, cloud, and mobile world, enterprise networks are more complex and unpredictable than ever before and IT is struggling to manage all of this,” Riverbed Chairman and CEO Jerry Kennelly said in a statement. “A fundamental rethink to networking is required and with this acquisition, Riverbed and our partners are uniquely positioned to provide CIOs and businesses with a software-defined networking approach that delivers unified connectivity and orchestration across the entire network.”

Earlier this week, Riverbed released its first Xirrus SD-WAN access point to help organizations control their access points more easily.

Riverbed stated that SD-WAN is necessary to the growth of networking technology as IT infrastructure trends continue to demand the ability to do less with more. SD-WAN offers the efficiency and agility needed for organizations to continue to adapt to changing and advancing IT infrastructure environments.

Extreme Networks also made a major acquisition last month by taking over Avaya’s enterprise networking business. The acquisition included Avaya’s assets, employees, partners, and networking customers.

Extreme Network’s acquisition of Avaya aims to use both vendor’s technology to create a better networking solution that gives organizations better visibility and control over their network.

Extreme Networks also acquired Zebra Technologies LAN/WLAN business back in September with similar goals. Extreme Networks is using Zebra’s technology to strengthen its wireless networking solutions.

SD-WAN is important for healthcare organizations to consider because traditional network deployments are on the verge of becoming unmanageable using traditional management solutions. Networks are growing in both their capabilities and capacity as more devices and tools are constantly communicating with them.

SD-WAN gives organizations much more control over their networks because the management capabilities are centralized and each access point doesn’t have to be configured or inspected every time an error occurs. Healthcare organizations looking to simplify and streamline their IT infrastructures will benefit from SD-WAN.

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