Companies implement software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) as a way to address bandwidth demands from cloud applications and centralize management of the network. SD-WAN also allows for traffic prioritization and zero- or low-touch provisioning. Networking teams appreciate the ability to eliminate manual configuration in geographically dispersed branch locations.
SD-WAN offers a host of benefits, but it also comes with some challenges. Here are three you will want to anticipate as you prepare to implement SD-WAN:
Many companies that choose SD-WAN do so for the advantage of reducing the reliance on multi-protocol label switching (MPLS). When switching pathways to the internet, it is important to choose the appropriate service provider. Choosing between a multi-ISP or single-ISP backbone is another decision.
A single-ISP backbone contains all traffic within one system and improves predictability for latency and jitter, but it also introduces round-trip delays.
Another consideration is balancing the high-focus and troubleshooting options with MPLS against the management and DIY troubleshooting that can come with internet-based connectivity. It’s important for the company to gain extensive understanding of the provider’s service level agreement for troubleshooting and monitoring connectivity.
When selecting an SD-WAN solution, you will usually have to choose a major cloud platform, with vendors falling into one of three categories:
Native Cloud Access: This architecture features built-in access capability, with connectivity occurring through the cloud’s backbone to connect branch locations.
Vendor-Provided Access: The vendor uses a public gateway or private backbone to connect SD-WAN to a cloud environment.
Customer-Provided Access: In this case, the customer deploys the SD-WAN appliances in the local data center.
Cost is often the catalyst for exploring the benefits of SD-WAN. It offers better reliability and improved network performance while removing the exclusive reliance on MPLS pathways.
Quantifying cost savings around SD-WAN can be challenging because it improves network performance and team productivity with quick access to applications. It can be hard to measure these improvements, but it could be argued that equipping an increasingly cloud-based environment with SD-WAN helps mitigate spiraling bandwidth costs.
SD-WAN may also help in reducing travel costs because it removes the need for your team to visit a branch location for provisioning or troubleshooting. All maintenance, monitoring, and traffic policy management can be done from a centralized dashboard.
SD-WAN is also a key component in future-proofing your organization. As you pursue a digital transformation strategy that prioritizes cloud solutions, SD-WAN allows you to manage bandwidth costs, engage in traffic optimization, and address security concerns with network segmentation. Deploying SD-WAN is a great way to address network complexity as you invest in cloud solutions. But challenges in areas like cloud connectivity and quantifying cost savings may require a guide to help you navigate your implementation process. Contact us at eXemplify to learn more about SD-WAN and remove the obstacles for a seamless implementation.