SD-WAN: How a Bad Acronym Inspired a Network Revolution

by Adam Gervin

SD-WAN: How a Bad Acronym Inspired a Network Revolution

There are currents of speech that simply annoy. I’m certain you know what I mean. Words or phrases that trend and are harder to kill than zombies. I swear if I hear “top of mind” or “at the end of the day” or “empower” or “move the needle,” I will flip my bits.

But acronyms rule them all. We all used to enjoy a good acronym or two. Nowadays, every verbose concept winds up with its very own tongue twister. Worst of all, some manage to be both annoying AND misleading.

Case in point: SD-WAN. Software-Defined Wide Area Network. Except it’s not.

Not to say SD-WAN doesn’t do some wonderful things for your network. It does:

  • Last-mile (edge) network optimization
  • End-to-End encryption
  • Cloud orchestration

The SD-WAN name implies software-defined visibility and control of the entire WAN, right? Surprise! SD-WAN doesn’t do that, at least not by itself.

True, SD-WANs give you visibility and control of the edge of your network. Also true, they wrap things up nice and tight and ship them end-to-end. But here’s the kicker: the majority of that distance occurs over a backbone network that SD-WAN can’t see or control. In most cases, the core of the network is the Internet, and it’s not “software-defined,” not even a little bit.

A better name would be SD-Edge. But that ship has sailed.

This gave us inspiration to coin the term “SD-CORE” – in the specific context of what SD-WAN does and does not do. SD-CORE is the missing link, if you will, of a real “software-defined WAN.”

The idea was simple – extend the control that SD-WAN gives you (at the network edge) to the core of the network. True software-defined end-to-end control. We see SD-CORE as the natural partner to SD-WAN, working together to fulfill its original promise of software-defined network nirvana.

But what does a global SD-CORE really give you? Some pretty valuable things, actually:

  1. End-to-end private network performance and QoS with full transparency and support — even for hybrid/multicloud environments
  2. The ability to optimally distribute your network’s compute and storage around the world with unprecedented flexibility, resulting in significant CapEx and OpEx savings
  3. The ability to add additional functionalities to the SD-CORE (at the PoP or elsewhere) including security (SASE, another acronym!), collaboration (TURN, ok I’ll stop), and multicloud integration.

Turns out, Mode isn’t the only one who digs SD-CORE. Singtel has embraced it in their Singtel SD-CORE offering. Even Cisco talks about SD-CORE in this very same SD-WAN context.

Even though we coined the term SD-CORE for SD-WAN, it doesn’t necessarily mean Mode’s is the best.

But it is.

Mode SD-CORE is the market-leading SD-CORE for a good reason: it combines three must-haves into one network — something no other SD-CORE can do:

  1. Real Private Network Performance with a carrier-grade SLA
  2. Cloud Ease, Agility, and Scale
  3. Internet Affordability

Mode SD-CORE is Internet-connected, and the easiest way to take Internet Core unpredictability out of the performance equations for business SD-WANs, and ASPs running demanding global applications.

Ready to believe the hype and see for yourself how Mode SD-CORE can make your network dreams come true? It’s easy: just Mode & Go.

Check out our webinar on maximizing cloud performance with SD-CORE.


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AND... Take a minute to look over our new Infographic, 

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