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.
Bottom line: 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!
Continue reading: How to Build a Highly Available WAN