Many enterprises are investing in a network upgrade to support their adoption and the performance levels of cloud solutions. For most organizations, this means implementing software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). It solves a variety of challenges and allows the enterprise to be vendor agnostic, no longer tied to a single internet service provider or carrier.
The benefits that SD-WAN introduces are numerous, including the following:
- SD-WAN adds a virtual overlay to the physical network, improving visibility and control over network management.
- Multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) lines can be supplemented or replaced with lower-cost pathways, allowing for reduced costs.
- SD-WAN offers end-to-end security, as well as the ability to isolate and address a threat without impact to the rest of the network.
- Network engineers can automatically route traffic according to priority level, using predetermined rules according to business policy.
These advantages have the potential to improve network performance while also improving available bandwidth and, even in some cases, producing significant cost savings. While every SD-WAN deployment is different, it’s a good idea to note four potential challenges and be aware of them as you plan your implementation:
- Get Your Ducks in a Row: Deploying SD-WAN can be a time-consuming process, particularly if you haven’t planned ahead for a smooth rollout. Examine the required elements at each of your branch locations to determine if you’re prepared. Check items such as cabling, power, MPLS, and internet connections to see what hurdles may occur when you go to set up SD-WAN.
- Be Aware of International Obstacles, Including Customs: If your plan is to simply ship off your SD-WAN box to be plugged-in in Nigeria without any paperwork for customs, expect it to get stuck there. Your network solution provider should be experienced in dealing with global enterprises and have the appropriate legislation, paperwork, and network design necessary for each location you include in your deployment.
- Avoid Unplanned Costs: It’s a good idea to have a comprehensive plan not only for the equipment you’ll need, but also the technical support and any logistical changes required to accommodate SD-WAN.
- Determine Your Management Model: Many network teams are reluctant to outsource SD-WAN to a third-party managed service provider because they don’t want to give up that level of control. But unless you are a large enterprise, you may not have the resources in-house to manage it yourselves. The good news is that options are currently expanding to find a balance between managing the entire solution within the enterprise and completely handing over the network to a provider. A comanaged network design allows the enterprise better visibility and control, while still being supported by technicians with expertise in SD-WAN.
If you’re planning an SD-WAN deployment, contact us at Access Tech. We can help you leverage the right solution for your enterprise and help you avoid some of the common transition pitfalls.