Educating the Enterprise on SD-WAN Options to Find the Right Fit

February 04, 2019

By Bill Yates, Communications Correspondent

With multiple ways to implement SD-WAN into your organizations, you should perform a requirements audit before you select the type of solution to implement.

Ryan Harrelson, vice president of engineering for Light Networks, spoke about the topic at the SD-WAN Expo Fort Lauderdale. Like other participants at the conference, Harrelson points out that there is no single solution that can cover everyone’s needs.

Three types of deployment models for adding SD-WAN services to your network

  1. Carrier or MSP supplied;
  2. Platform as a service;
  3. Self-installed and maintained.

Each model has specific advantages and disadvantages, Harrelson says. “All of these are not created equally, and that’s something you need to be aware of,” he says. “What do you want to do with your traffic?” he asks.

He says you should make a list of your requirements, then ask each vendor for a list of solutions.

Design your solution to fit your business. The key tenants of your SD-WAN development include:

  • Determining your bandwidth. What type of bandwidth are you working with?
  • Configuring your cloud management. Where does your management layer reside?
  • Developing application awareness. What type of monitoring solution do you use?
  • Including business-plan routing. Are your business plans ready for SD-WAN routing?

Harrelson says you should consider how the software selects paths, manages traffic, and provides visibility. Do you need advanced solutions like application gateways? Choose the level of flexibility you want, then select the provider, he says.

Harrelson notes the goal is to provide greater predictability to your systems. Employing SD-WAN software can help you achieve that goal. “The more data points you add, the greater predictability you’re going to get,” he explained.

IT directors want more uptime, greater flexibility and more visibility features. Harrelson illustrates SD-WAN software helps with all of that, “What we’re looking for is outcome-based networking,” where the system analyzes itself to provide clues to best operating practices.

As an example, Harrelson referred to the GPS software he uses to get to work. By referring to his GPS, he can determine the most effective path to work each day. SD-WAN software provides similar benefits to IT systems, providing you with programming options that can increase the efficiency of your systems. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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