Our partners and customers frequently ask us: “Isn’t ‘SD-WAN’ just a cute buzzword?”
We’ll admit, not long ago we were squarely in that camp, too — for the simple reason that we could accomplish the same thing with traditional best practices and “old school” equipment that SD-WAN was promising.
So what’s changed for us and the SD-WAN industry?
Simply put, time. Several successful deployments and some real-life case studies
of how SD-WAN is solving significant problems have swayed our opinion.
One big issue for SD-WAN is there’s nothing to solve right now for most environments. We would argue that most mid-markets and enterprise customers already have a relatively solid infrastructure. This includes a router, a switch, and a firewall of some variety at their branch sites.
In most of these cases, SD-WAN is a tough sell because it’s not solving a major fundamental issue today
However, consider the following circumstances:
- Significant network equipment that’s end of life
- New locations coming on frequently
- Complexity issues with network
- Issues with network availability or redundancy
- Application performance issues
- Maintaining simplicity with branch firewall policies with no backhaul
- Network expertise and experience in-house
For all of the scenarios listed above and many others, SD-WAN solutions
are a real and tangible means of solving a problem.
A single or redundant piece of equipment that’s terminating a primary, backup, and even a tertiary circuit — all administered through a cloud portal with a simple graphical user interface (GUI). This simple GUI allows you to control Quality of Service (QoS) policies in real-time for specific applications across specific interfaces or connections. The network connections can be run active/active with real-time packet inspection to determine the best path, while providing a firewall policy to eliminate centralized backhaul of internet traffic.
If you have a virtual private network (VPN) today, SD-WAN solutions allow you to connect automatically without VPN policy management to any-to-any or hub-and-spoke — or a combination of the two. That’s quite a bit for a single device to simplify, and makes for a far easier deployment.
: SD-WAN isn’t just a cute buzzword anymore; there are real life examples of why it’s being used and what problems it’s solving.
However, we encourage you to do your homework because SD-WAN providers aren’t a one-size fits all solution. They also aren’t cheap as some would have you think. But SD-WAN does create significant efficiencies and value for an enterprise under the right conditions. We’ve seen it firsthand.
There are multiple players on the field and they all have a role to fill in this $8 billion industry of WAN networking. The question is: When is the right time for your company to make the move?
Make no mistake, one day or another, the move will make sense for you too. We guarantee it!
: How to Build a Highly Available WAN