The pressures on the network are growing increasingly as companies access cloud tools with significant data volume moving between the user and the cloud solution. Therefore, the network is taking on a more central role, driving business objectives. And as enterprises embrace digital transformation, investing in network infrastructure has become a priority.
For many companies, software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) promises to be a solution, but the holy grail-style hype around this technology should be dispelled before you shop for managed SD-WAN services.
SD-WAN does offer a few key advantages for the enterprise network, including scalability, flexibility, control, and cost reduction. However, before you sign up with a provider, here’s what you should know about choosing managed SD-WAN services:
Evaluate your business needs: Before you determine which solutions you’ll evaluate, begin with your business. What challenges are you trying to solve and what are your expectations for an SD-WAN solution? This will help you take a balanced approach to provider offerings rather than being distracted by all the bells and whistles. You’ll have a better sense of each solution’s benefits and limitations.
Consider a hybrid WAN: One of the overblown rumors about SD-WAN is that you can expect to see up to 80% in savings off your current networking solution’s prices. While this can be achieved, it’s generally done so by completely replacing multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) with the public internet.
MPLS can be costly and it can take a significant amount of time to get a new branch online with this pathway. Yet, MPLS offers some clear benefits as it’s reliable and secure compared to the public internet, which can be only as good as the internet connection.
That doesn’t mean that every data transmission requires the quality of MPLS. Your employees on break, streaming Netflix or checking a Facebook account, don’t require the reliability of an MPLS pathway. Hybrid WAN, which retains some MPLS and switches some network traffic to the public Internet, can be a way to optimize networking and save money.
Prioritize self-configuration: Another area of hype for managed SD-WAN services is the ability to enjoy zero-touch configuring and provisioning. Keep in mind that not all SD-WAN providers offer equal products. It’s a good idea to discuss the amount of self-management and configuration you’ll have over your network so that you aren’t waiting days or weeks for a new branch to be brought online or to repair an area of the network that’s having issues.
The hype around managed SD-WAN services may be a bit overblown, but that doesn’t mean it won’t solve your networking challenges and help you reduce costs. Contact us at Wanify to learn more about how SD-WAN can help drive innovation and progress while reducing your WAN costs.