Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) offers solutions to some of the challenges that come with an increasingly complex network environment. From the added volume of cloud solutions and Internet of Things (IoT) to concerns surrounding cyber security, enterprises are deploying SD-WAN to simplify management and enhance visibility of the network. Before implementing SD-WAN, you need to determine whether you’ll build it in-house or opt for managed SD-WAN.
There are some key considerations to include when choosing between a hands-on, do-it-yourself approach and a managed SD-WAN solution. Even among managed service providers, not all SD-WAN solutions are equal:
Is it equipped to handle global sites?
While you can employ a regional, do-it-yourself SD-WAN in order to reduce costs through the elimination of some multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) links with public internet pathways, this is not always enough. If you operate on a global level, what happens across that middle mile can create some problems. Your application may be bounding across multiple connection points, resulting in poor application performance and increased security vulnerability.
Managed SD-WAN can counteract these challenges because it offers a private, software-defined middle-mile network. The result is better performance, flat latencies and multi-cloud connectivity.
Does it offer Layer 2 network transport?
A global provider that offers Layer 3 internet will deliver increased jitter, latency and packet loss, which all contribute to poor performance. While this impacts all network activity, it particularly compromises the quality of video and real-time voice. Even if your provider says that they offer techniques to remedy these problems, you should still think about the effects of a band-aid on factors that impact overall performance.
With a managed SD-WAN provider offering a software-defined Layer 2 core, you’ll get a dedicated, high-speed lane that delivers optimized performance, Quality of Service and reliability measurable at 99.99%.
What about application optimization?
While an SD-WAN provider may attempt to talk you into purchasing an extra appliance for each location to mitigate performance issues, a managed SD-WAN provider will offer WAN optimization and application proxies that service Software as a Service (SaaS), Quality of Service and other platforms.
Is it compatible with all SaaS and cloud solutions?
You should not have to backhaul your connection through your data center in order to connect all end users to applications and platforms. You need a managed SD-WAN provider that equips you with direct connectivity to every platform via its network, providing fast access to the tools you require, even from remote locations.
Does the SD-WAN provider require you to build the network?
Some SD-WAN providers will offer devices for your branch locations, but it’s up to you to build out your network. This means securing connectivity, orchestrating individual devices and managing each telco contract. You’ll also be on the hook for setting up and troubleshooting connectivity. These steps could force your company to wait months to deploy your network.
By contrast, a managed SD-WAN provider will offer a fully-integrated solution that takes care of managing the network. A managed SD-WAN solution is deployed in a few hours.
You may be tempted to try a more hands-on approach to SD-WAN, but unless you are a large organization with an in-house network team that can be dedicated to SD-WAN, it’s probably not a good idea. Contact us at One Connect to learn more about choosing the right SD-WAN solution for your company.