Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is an important implementation for enterprises prioritizing cloud migration in their technology strategies. As more organizations shift from multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) to a virtual networking solution, there is also a need to address the challenges that come with an SD-WAN migration.
Connectivity: Careful planning is at the heart of every successful SD-WAN deployment, and one of the first considerations is determining the types of connectivity the enterprise will choose. Some switch the entire organization from MPLS to direct internet access or broadband, while others find that certain core applications have performance requirements that demand continued MPLS use. MPLS is a good fit where latency and stability might be otherwise negatively impacted.
Security: SD-WAN migration and its long-term success rest heavily on the nature and quality of the security offered with the solution. Enterprises migrating to SD-WAN may require a choice between a cloud-based firewall or using an onsite appliance, but some newer SD-WAN versions have next-generation cloud-based firewalls offering elasticity and scalable application-awareness technology. It’s important that security be central in choosing an SD-WAN solution.
Cost: It can be challenging to accurately anticipate the cost of an SD-WAN migration. While recurring costs are relatively easy to estimate, the setup, construction, and other one-time costs of implementation may be challenging to forecast. A situation in which pricing for last-mile solutions must be adjusted once the vendor reviews the deployment, for example, can create measurable differences in cost, particularly if the provider needs to expand their infrastructure to accommodate bandwidth needs at the location.
Workload Planning: It’s also important to evaluate what needs and expectations are associated with different types of workloads, as well as gain a clear understanding of where workloads are located. Some enterprises may require a network that is designed to be close to certain core workloads. If the enterprise operates globally, network teams will need to know the location of cloud connectivity points and how their management integrates with the rest of the deployment.
Wireless Planning: Deciding whether to leverage wireless connectivity will impact how configuration is planned. In most situations, the network will experience greater efficiency with a status set to active-standby or active-dynamic, because a setting of active-active sets up the network to quickly eat through wireless minutes on your plan. The availability of data on the plan as well as the cost for metered links can impact decisions, and it’s possible that active-active is the best configuration for the enterprise. In this case, it’s recommended that the enterprise use both broadband and internet circuit deployment for improved availability.
Ongoing Management: Once deployment is complete, there’s still the question of who is managing the network going forward. Even for larger organizations, a managed service provider may be the best fit. Many network teams find that the ongoing maintenance, troubleshooting, and configuration is more than they want to handle in-house.
SD-WAN migration offers a variety of benefits, but there can be risks and challenges to the process. Contact us at eXemplify for more information about an efficient, seamless transition to SD-WAN.