SD-WAN FEATURED ARTICLE
3 Critical Considerations for the SD-WAN Buyer
If your enterprise plans to be part of the rapidly evolving digital economy, your rigid network isn’t going to cut it much longer. The future of enterprise networks will be based on a mesh architecture made up of multiple connection types transmitting ever-increasing amounts of data across global locations. Think about the new applications – many accessible from the cloud – that your business is adopting in a quest for competitive advantage. Consider the massive flow of data as employees, customers, partners and vendors operate within your ecosystem.
Companies are already experiencing an upsurge in connectivity requirements at the edge of the network due to mobile, remote, branch and guest users. It’s likely that your current WAN is the opposite of the flexible, agile, efficient system you need to operate and innovate under these conditions. The digital economy “changes what must occur within the network itself, how it is designed and deployed and managed,” according to Andre Kindness, principal analyst for infrastructure and operations at Forrester (News - Alert) Research.
WAN connections must be more dynamic and that’s creating excitement around SD-WAN as a pillar of a modern, hybrid network architecture. There are SD-WAN market solutions that excel at addressing the network’s needs at the edge. Using your connectivity of choice – private, broadband, mobile – there are solutions that support active-active links. They also let users leverage primary and backup circuits simultaneously – no wasted resources - while supporting failover requirements. In essence, your WAN gains the flexibility to use the most appropriate type of networking connection to meet particular business or application performance requirements, switching among them as needed. The result is cost-effectiveness, reliability, speed and accuracy at the network edge. Equally compelling is that these solutions bring network intelligence to the entire network fabric. Centralized orchestration and load balancing is provided in support of chaining WAN security services like firewalls and routers across locations that, in some industries, may be spread across the globe and operating on different schedules. These SD-WAN solutions make it possible to support this network fabric as a fully managed service, thereby removing the stress of trying to match up different solutions from various providers in a do-it-yourself approach.
Concerns about how to surmount some hurdles, like highly dispersed security architectures, have impacted the transition to SD-WAN. Forrester has found that 18% of respondents to a 2017 survey plan on implementing the technology in the next 12 months, and only 16% of CIOs surveyed say their firms can deliver this in-house. Many companies are actively researching their SD-WAN options. Here's some advice on best practices to keep in mind:
1. Start small. The beauty of SD-WAN is that you can start with just one site. Try it out before deploying it widely, minimizing the risk.
2. Pick the right partner. If your company is among those lacking the expertise to pull everything together, a managed service is a good choice. Look for competitive differentiators. Vendors’ ability to meet your performance, geographic and support needs should be considered.
3. Don’t focus on cost. This isn’t a race to the bottom; it’s a race to drive business transformation and competitive advantage. And remember that vendor performance is measurable.
Paul Ruelas is Director of Network Products at Masergy (www.masergy.com). He brings over 26 years of expertise in telecommunications, IP Networks, complex solution design, and product development. Paul has developed many Ethernet and optical products that enabled numerous global enterprises to transform their data communication infrastructures to improve business outcomes. Paul is an industry thought leader in communication transformation and on topics such as hybrid networking, SDN, NFV, and cloud connectivity.
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Edited by Maurice Nagle