Related Blog: Managers Create Their Own Private Internet with SD-WAN
What is SD-WAN?
First off, SD-WAN is meant to “connect with MSPs and other solution providers in the ecosystem who are seeing” a challenge in connecting remote locations with each other. Basically, Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a specific application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology applied to WAN connections such as broadband internet, 4G, LTE, or MPLS. It connects enterprise networks over large geographic distances.
It is a means to connect, in a single network, various locations and technologies. In the past, a WAN would would use a lot of specific hardware to connect these locations, while SD-WAN relies on software and can be applied faster, easier, and for a lower cost than prior configurations.
How is it Misunderstood?
Aaron continues, “There is this preconceived notion about SD-WAN that its this big complicated technology that MSPs can’t deploy to their customers because of the cost or time required to put it out there.” This line of thinking fails on a couple fronts.
Complicated Technology: Being software-based, there is a level of proficiency necessary for proper deployment. Who was able to intuit how to set up a Point of Sale system, for instance? Luckily, there are lots of vendors that do just this, and they deploy SD-WAN over and over. As with any other technology, finding a trusted advisor with experience in the product is important. In other words, as Steve Garson of Network World put it, “You’ll still need someone with the right skills to roll out your WAN.”
Cost: Aryaka’s third annual Global State of the WAN was a survey that determined a few key insights about SD-WAN deployment. They find that 35% of the 800 CIOs, and IT or network managers surveyed worry that SD-WAN would result in extra spending. This misconception arose by a failure to take into account all of the components of an existing MPLS WAN. When compared side by side, SD-WAN solutions typically come to the same or lower in monthly recurring charges (Operational Expenditures). But, the true savings applies later on, when the local engineers do not have to maintain and service hardware, update firmware, and manually configure every factor when a new location is rolled out.
With a software-based solution, you take out a majority of the Capital Expenditures in the nature of new servers and such, you see how, down the road, the SD-WAN solution is less expensive down the road, even if the cost is the same on day one.
With most complicated technologies, finding a trusted advisor who understands the application and can advise you on your peculiar enterprise can take a lot of stress off of your plate. You can benefit from the experience of others and work with them to optimize for your needs.
And, if SD-WAN is not the best solution for you today, they can explain why. Providers such as BigLeaf Networks would love to talk to you about it.