When discussing the possibility of implementing software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), the conversation often begins as a way to offset the networking costs involved with cloud investments. Cloud-based solutions tend to have hefty bandwidth and performance requirements, which often puts a burden on the network. Alleviating networking costs is just the beginning of SD-WAN benefits.
The cost reduction begins with the ability to replace highly-reliable but relatively expensive multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) with cheaper alternatives like broadband internet. In many cases, enterprises retain MPLS lines for latency-sensitive, real-time transmissions, while email traffic and other less-critical transmissions are relegated to broadband internet or LTE.
In addition, enterprises find that shifting from new technology being a capital investment to a scenario in which a monthly subscription can be categorized as an operating expense produces more cost savings. These types of savings are just the beginning, because SD-WAN also has a lot to offer in terms of improving productivity, allowing for shorter time to market, and efficient configuring and troubleshooting.
A Broader Perspective
The SD-WAN benefits multiply as enterprises shift their approach to the technology. SD-WAN is fine as a networking approach, but when the enterprise begins to see it as a strategy for launching and equipping digital transformation, they see more advantages to utilizing it.
SD-WAN makes it easier to launch new cloud applications, it allows for network optimization for better performance across every cloud solution and it frees up enterprise IT to focus on bigger goals for using technology to fuel the progress of business objectives.
Enterprises can map simpler and more cost-effective branch WANs with SD-WAN, equipping them to utilize cloud solutions without increasing their dependency on IT teams for configuring or troubleshooting connectivity problems.
Thinking about SD-WAN only as a replacement for MPLS connections tends to create a setting in which SD-WAN is an incremental solution, addressing each point of digital transformation challenges individually. This is in contrast to a plan in which the networking strategy is placed at the center to equip digital transformation as a future-proof technology.
All SD-WAN Is Not Equal
As more enterprises seek SD-WAN solutions, the market is responding with many providers tagging SD-WAN onto their offerings without having a true SD-WAN product. Before implementing a solution, enterprises need to conduct a needs assessment and then examine providers carefully. Look for security that is baked in, rather than bolted on as a separate feature, and choose a solution based on the level of management and maintenance you want to handle in-house versus through a third party provider.
If you’re interested in SD-WAN benefits and learning how it can equip your enterprise for a strategic advance in your digital transformation process, contact us at eXemplify.