To begin with the most obvious statement — the primary reason SD-WAN appeals to IT pioneers, over legacy network technologies, is the promise of simplified network deployment, unified control, and real-time delivery.
Which is why this study conducted by Gartner in 2015 (read the full article here) makes complete sense. A prediction was made by them, that by the end of 2019, about 30% of the enterprises, worldwide, will deploy SD-WAN technologies in their branches.
We are already aware of the fact that SD-WAN architecture is the most optimal solution available today for enterprises. The major plus point being that not only can it be used separately, but even as a layover with the existing legacy solutions. The industry experts have been harping about this since the emergence of the SD-WAN architecture.
Why enterprises are choosing SD-WAN solutions
- Digital Transformation (DX)
- Cloud Readiness
- Improved and consistent Security
- Seamless and optimized Bandwidth
To start from the grassroot level, there is a phenomenal rise in the usage of the internet in the past few years, thanks to the telecom industry. Due to the sheer increase in the number of branches and outlets for enterprises, even more information is shared over the internet. This, in turn, means more cloud computing. In this situation, using SD-WAN solution with Software Defined Perimeter (an identification based security system) for network security would only make the network simpler, performance better and security tighter than other legacy WAN solutions.
One of the primary reasons for this remarkable growth is the constant need for enhancing customer experience and in turn augmenting the enterprise’s financial performance. This is why Digital Transformation (DX) is a big movement where 3rd gen platform technologies (e.g. cloud services, big data, and analysis) are deployed to achieve higher and better results. DX will continue to improve end-to-end business solutions, in the future.
Another reason for this growth can be attributed to the continual rise of public cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. It has been observed time and again that the Internet is too uncertain for enterprise WAN use. Security has always been a concern there. Hence, legacy WAN services are rendered ill-equipped for the Cloud. The dynamic nature of SD-WAN services helps to create a hybrid WAN service which is an amalgam of legacy services with the new technology that provides a more wholesome solution.
Optimized bandwidth means seamless performance for real-time apps like VoIP and live videos. It allows data to flow smoothly via dynamic path selection even when the network is affected by jitters.
Automated deployment signifies eliminating the need for any manual interference and configuration. It happens to be a much more convenient system compared to its predecessors. Any changes that are needed in the network (eg; neutralizing a threat alert or revoking/granting access to a particular user etc), can be performed just with a few clicks.
What We Need to Know About Managed SD-WAN Services?
We have been discussing continually the evolution of SD-WAN services over the last few years and the fact that the service providers/vendors are successfully implementing small improvements like enhanced security, robust architectures, and other functionalities.
The underlined USP of the SD-WAN service is the fact that it is all about multipoint connectivity. The complexity increases with the size of the network and its intricacies for an enterprise.
One of the many upgrades and options that the world of networking is providing its clients, is the value-added service of catering Managed SD-WAN services as opposed to the enterprises managing it themselves.
Now the big question is why would an enterprise get a managed service provided by the vendor in place of the DIY service.
DIY vs Managed Services
One of the options that the customer has, while choosing the service, is that he/she can opt for DIY (Do-It-Yourself) options rather than vendor managed SD-WAN services. DIY allows the enterprise to plan, design, implement and manage all components of the solutions within the in-house teams.
In case, the enterprise decides to go ahead with the managed services then, every behind-the-scene task is performed by the service provider. An array of services is offered under the umbrella of “managed services”.
The MEF (A Global Industry Alliance) has recognized the following 7 as standardized capabilities of Managed SD-WAN services.
- Secure, IP-based virtual overlay network
- Transport-independence of the underlay network
- Service assurance of each SD-WAN tunnel
- Application-driven packet forwarding
- High availability through multiple WAN links
- Policy-based packet forwarding
- Service automation via centralized management, control, and orchestration
Many organizations believe that the DIY approach is more beneficial for their requirements and vice versa. Both types have their own set of advantages. SD-WAN solutions which are flexible for both DIY or Managed model, so that if you were to change your mind during the network transformation project, you don’t have to change your vendor selection. This works in your favour, because you could create the initial blueprint using the DIY edition, and then ask the vendor to continue as a Managed Service. Or you could start with a Managed Service without burdening your IT network team, and migrate to DIY post network transformation to SD-WAN. Now not all vendors would be able to offer you both models with the same underlying software architecture, so please do look for a vendor which has the maturity to understand both models and has experience with both.
Advantages of DIY & Managed Services
- Less expensive compared to the managed services
- Easier for compliance-heavy industries, where an external managed service can cause increased compliance work
- Simplifies network complexity via WAN management and web-based performance management.
- Managing large networks by the in-house team of the enterprise eventually becomes a tedious task, as a single error would cause a big-time snowball effect.
The fact of the matter is…
Clients have a lot of options to decide what is best for their enterprise. However, as responsible service providers, we always advocate the fact that Managed SD-WAN is more beneficial for the clients.
Technology transformation should make us faster, nimbler and more productive. It is important to think about what impact the SD-WAN transformation will have on your IT team. Will they be doing the same things or different things? Will you have the same problems of long negotiations with a particular Telco service provider or will you have the flexibility of choosing the service that works for you?
Once you have identified whether it is the WAN TCO, Bandwidth, Cloud Readiness or a much larger goal like readiness for Digital Transformation is driving your need, and you compare that with your IT team size and their readiness to drive this transformation, you will be able to make the right choice between Managed and DIY.
The perks of Managed SD-WAN Services
- SD-WAN, as a managed service, can be implemented and operational within half the time that is required for the DIY approach.
- The IT staff can utilize their intellect for strategic developments for DX.
- A variety of potent security measures are available under ‘Managed’ services that can be incorporated swiftly.
At Lavelle networks, we absolutely insist our customers focus on the enterprise’s digital transformation, and let our team of professionals’ handle what we do best — provide and manage efficient, simple and the most secured end-to-end SD-WAN services for your organization.