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Is Your Infrastructure Ready for SD-WAN?


What’s the top complaint we hear from CFOs and CIOs when it comes to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN)?

“We thought SD-WAN would be cheaper and easier, but I don’t see it”

When network administrators are caught up in hours of writing hundreds of command line interface commands, and making several typos that cause network disruptions, organizations can feel desperate to find a solution that will unburden them from manual tasks, and increase business agility.

Software-defined networking (SDN) inside the data center and cloud services has already proven its benefits in reliability and ease of deployment of application policy rules, matching business drivers.

Traditional WANs tend to be expensive and a challenge to manage, SDN’s WAN equivalent, SD-WAN, aims to reduce recurring network costs, deliver network-wide control and visibility, and simplification of the service activation to branch locations with zero-touch deployment and centralized management.

SD-WAN vendors understand the common pain points and often market the following equation as the ultimate panacea to network ailments:

Agility (from simplifying network policy configuration and management) + Control (intelligently leveraging multiple paths, including broadband connections) = Faster Service Activation and Time to Market.

With over 40, and growing, SD-WAN vendors, not all are created equal despite many proclaiming the same message. Businesses have the choice of over-the-top (OTT) providers, carriers, managed service providers, hardware vendors and more.

Today, SD-WAN remains largely a do-it-yourself operation with IT departments responsible for planning, design, implementation, and maintenance. So how do IT leaders achieve an SD-WAN deployment that will actually simplify management and produce a positive ROI?

Determining Your SD-WAN Compatibility

Whether or not to implement SD-WAN isn’t a clear-cut decision, especially since the technology is rapidly changing. However, there are some use cases that are more favorable than others.

When Agility Is Important

Companies that can get past the initial setup of SD-WAN are far more likely to be satisfied with the agility benefits of separating the control and data planes. For dynamic organizations that need to be able to add services quickly, or experience rapidly changing traffic patterns, SD-WAN can offer advantages with a SDN controller.

Speed to Market/Zero-Touch Deployment

Branch offices are growing in number and importance in favor of generating market awareness and bringing the business and customer closer together. A common problem in this scenario is that branch offices need to get up and running quickly, and ISP circuits have long lead times compared to SD-WAN.

As branches multiply, so do the number of routers, firewalls, security features, and optimization appliances, making management a nightmare. These physical network functions are now converged into Virtual Network Functions (VNF). Companies already going through the process of trying to simplify are embracing VNF/NFV as part of SDN/SD-WAN to make the switch.

Doing More to Ensure SD-WAN Deployments Fulfill Expectations

SD-WAN is a superb technology that will see rapid adoption rates, but we felt the storyline required a dose of much-needed reality.

Even with its many advantages, companies should understand that SD-WAN is not completely immune to disappointments. Although easier to connect to the multiple ISP services (cloud, MPLS, Internet, LTE), without the proper controls, there is still the possibility of poor Quality of Experience and service disruptions. And that is where SD-WAN customers begin to feel frustration, because poor performance can lead to higher Total Cost of Ownership.

Our advice is, look before you leap into the world of SD-WAN. First, consider completing network and application assessments to gain end-to-end visibility of network resource utilization. Armed with a quantitative analysis, CIOs and IT leaders will be able to make data-driven decisions around choosing an SD-WAN solution that will actually deliver on the promises of agility, performance, and reduced costs.

Our experts at Edgeworx are invariably focused on ensuring that clients’ networking investments are being used effectively to meet business needs. Don’t jump into the unchartered waters of SD-WAN alone. With Edgeworx you can feel confident in achieving reduced costs, avoiding unnecessary expenditures, and improving business performance as we guide you through your SD-WAN adoption process with our objective, real-world experience. To learn more, speak with our team today at +1.647.793.4731.

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