Five SD-WAN Must-Haves

Adoption of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) has been growing, and it’s not likely to slow anytime soon. Gartner predicts that through 2023, the compound annual growth rate of SD-WAN is expected to grow 76%.

As the market expands, enterprises looking to update their infrastructure should be wary of the sudden proliferation of SD-WAN options. Features like security that’s been added later or solutions that don’t accelerate the on-ramping of cloud solutions are being presented as equals with more advanced SD-WAN options.

In order to prevent a misstep for your network upgrade, here are five elements that you should prioritize when choosing an SD-WAN solution:

The Basics: The right SD-WAN solution will offer all the essential functionality of a virtual overlay network, with application steering based on a solid service level agreement (SLA), application availability, and dynamic failover during blackout or brownout situations. While providers will generally say they offer these functions, you need to ask for specific data to back up the claims. The solution should also be capable of supporting a variety of transport protocols, from multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) to broadband internet. 

Scalability: Any investment in SD-WAN should provide the ability to scale up while maintaining the SLA guarantees and minimizing expenses. When an SD-WAN is built using standard components, rather than a cloud-native solution, enterprises find that they have performance and scalability problems. Look for a solution that offers maximum performance and scalability.

Accelerated On-Ramping for Cloud Solutions: Traditional approaches to steer traffic through the public network aren’t designed to reroute traffic for congestion avoidance. You need an SD-WAN solution that links colocation sites to an application accelerator in the cloud for faster and better connectivity. The right SD-WAN solution will also offer middle-mile optimization through backbone networks embedded with sensors.

Security: Traditional security approaches are challenging in a cloud environment where connections and traffic are in constant motion. Rather than build a secure overlay, many SD-WAN solutions simply bolt on security features – almost as an afterthought. Look for an option where security is native to the solution.

Open APIs: A solution created for service providers should prioritize an intuitive interface that’s equipped by open application programming interfaces (APIs), allowing for easy integration with enterprise devices. The SD-WAN solution should also be enabled to integrate with orchestration systems for dynamic topology changes and automating enterprise workflows. The APIs should allow the enterprise’s service providers to integrate solutions directly into the SD-WAN in order to pursue enhanced, customized functions and services.

As SD-WAN adoption continues and the market expands and matures, enterprises will prioritize managed services for a cost-effective approach to networking. It’s important that managed service providers select only the SD-WAN solutions that offer the cost-saving, optimizing features that benefit enterprises pursuing digital transformation.

If you’re considering an upgrade to SD-WAN, contact us at One Connect. We guide you through the SD-WAN selection process, using our expertise to identify only the solutions that will help you meet your business and infrastructure goals without sacrificing performance, security, or your budget.