Your enterprise has been investing in cloud technology, and it’s taking a toll on your network: impacting performance and driving up costs. You’re considering implementing an infrastructure upgrade in the form of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), but you aren’t sure where to start.
First, consider the key benefits of a transition to SD-WAN:
Improved Performance: This is often the driver of an SD-WAN upgrade because it allows your enterprise to maximize the performance of your cloud applications. For mission critical solutions like unified communications as a service (UCaaS), this can have a significant impact on the customer experience.
Better Reliability: With SD-WAN, you become vendor-agnostic – allowing you to utilize combinations of various technologies: including multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), ethernet, broadband, wireless and dedicated Internet. The result is improved network reliability.
Cost Savings: This depends on the current state of your network and how optimized it is. If your network is not currently optimized, your cost savings could be measurable.
Uptime: While you should carefully consider the uptime claims of any SD-WAN provider and obtain references, many of the top-tier providers offer what is essentially a “set it and forget it” solution.
If these potential benefits represent any of the factors leading you to consider SD-WAN, you may want to move on to these initial four steps of an SD-WAN upgrade:
Determine Your Network Design.
There are two network designs that are most common. The first is a traditional network, which provides the same control that a private network offers. It has a centralized firewall, which can simplify the management of the Internet and cloud applications. While this design can feel safe, it also has the potential to limit cloud performance or network redundancy.
An internet-based network sets up multiple internet connections direct from each site. It adds complexity, but with the right design and security, it offers the best performance with high levels of redundancy.
Choose Network Technology.
You can choose between private with MPLS or ethernet, or the many public options, including broadband, wireless, satellite, and, of course, dedicated internet. You’ll need to decide which combination works best for your needs as well as consider the site location and the corresponding nearby network services.
Examine Broadband Options.
You may not have a lot of options – particularly if you’re outside a metropolitan area. You may need to put together multiple technologies to make up for a lack of choices if you only have a cable company near your area.
Choose Your SD-WAN Provider.
Before you choose your solution, take time to research your specific needs and determine how potential providers line up with your objectives for the upgrade. You should also spend time talking with current customers of each provider and examining the security policies of the providers.
Selecting the right SD-WAN provider is a critical decision that can impact everything from infrastructure stability to customer experiences. Contact us at eXemplify for guidance in selecting the right provider for your network objectives.