5 Considerations for SD-WAN Adoption

Author: Rosa Lear, Director of Marketing, Edgewater Networks

EWN_Logo_1SEP11We’ve all heard those cheesy telecom commercials that tell you “for just pennies a month, you’ll receive crystal clear quality phone service!” Unfortunately, high-quality voice service isn’t available at bargain barrel prices. As service providers, our eyes probably haven’t ever rolled as hard as they did when watching those long-gone CSPs sell their services.

Well now there’s SD-WAN that might sound a little like an infomercial on the surface.

  • Cost Savings – Check
  • Greater Performance – Check
  • Faster Provisioning vs. MPLS – Check
  • Minimizes Disadvantages of the Internet – Check, Check!

The high-tech community is definitely on-board and we’re watching the movement boom as SD-WAN turns two years old. There are still some considerations before adopting this relatively new technology. Here are five that we think are noteworthy:

  1. No Clean Cut SD-WAN Adoption from Static WAN

Some new technologies are plug-and-go that minimize or even eliminate downtime and service hiccups. That’s not the case here. While this isn’t and shouldn’t be a deal breaker, it is something that CSPs should plan for.Wide Area Networks are large and complex, so CSPs will have to be methodical and patient with migrations. Most SD-WAN forwarding appliances will not have the necessary connections for traditional WAN circuits. Existing routers will need to stay in place to support the overall architecture, which should be factored into ROI calculations for the migration.

  1. SD-WAN is Not Voice/Video Aware 

With a fast and constant migration to email and text as a primary means of communication, some might not believe that voice is still such an integral part of how we do business. The reality is, it’s a mainstay for SMB and B2B companies and they require consistent uptime and quality.This precondition trips up SD-WAN since it supports all business applications and is not voice or video aware. To bridge that gap, intelligent edge solutions can be leveraged to meet the demands of voice quality and security.

  1.  SMB Customers Can Become Costly Compared to MPLS 

For providers that serve the SMB market, there can be issues with justifying the cost of migration. While at first glance, SD-WAN adoption is more cost efficient than using traditional MPLS, it isn’t necessarily so for all customers.While SD-WAN is a feature-rich solution, it still cannot guarantee the Quality of Service (QoS) metrics of MPLS. Fortunately for CSPs, quality can be maintained for end users by pairing intelligent edges that handle traffic management, traffic steering and protocol-oriented analytics. This way SMBs can have the best of both worlds, while CSPs utilize the latest technology.

  1. SD-WAN is Changing Rapidly

Service providers need to be prepared for the rapidly changing world of SD-WAN. Customers will likely have questions about the product roadmap and what is being done today to manage growing pains.

Here are some questions that you should prepare for and use Network Edge Orchestration to answer:

  • Does your SD-Wan support multi-tenancy?
  • Do your appliances support service chaining? If not, how can we accomplish that task?
  • How can we build our architecture so that strict quality guarantees can be met for our SLAs?
  • Are TCP flows terminated when traffic is moved from one link to another, or are sessions continually maintained?
  1. Greater Flexibility for Future Innovations

With the rise of the Internet-of-Things (IoT), enterprises are going to need networks that can support millions of connections and data flowing through them. While we can’t predict the future, we can be certain that creating a network architecture that supports more complex and intelligent uses will be a necessity.

We’re never interested in staying status quo and we’d take a bet that neither are our readers. Implementing a SD-WAN adoption and pairing it with Network Edge Orchestration creates a powerful future-proof solution to offer to customers. And it will also separate you from “those providers” we see on TV.

If you want to learn more about Intelligent Edges and how they fit into a world of software-defined wide area networks, download our free white paper, Differentiating Between SD WAN and an Intelligent Edge.

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