Is SD-WAN another distraction, or an important part of your IT strategy?

By Marc Sollars

Chief Technology Officer

To SD-WAN or Not to SD-WAN?

Every year in the IT industry there’s one technology area that fills up your LinkedIn feed. A couple of years ago it was endpoint protection, in 2017 it was all about GDPR and now it’s SD-WAN.

With each of these topics comes the question, “Is it a distraction, or should this play an important part in my IT Strategy?”

With hindsight, both the endpoint and the GDPR messages were very valid; it still surprises me that businesses are renewing signature-based antivirus contracts. But do we become immune to this messaging when we haven’t experienced pain in these areas or can’t see how they apply to what we’re working on?

SD-WAN has filled my LinkedIn feed now for months, and I’m becoming more and more concerned that people will see this as yet another distraction and ultimately ignore it due to over-exposure. I really hope that with SD-WAN, we can avoid the same scenario I saw with GDPR where people would roll their eyes in a meeting every time it got a mention. Here are some things to consider before dismissing SD-WAN from next year’s plans.

SD-WAN messaging is very similar from every vendor. They’re all saying they can do everything and it’s simple. There is no Advertising Standards Authority here and I can tell you from working with this technology for the last 7 years, each technology can’t do everything. They’re not all mature and the technology is only simple to install once you have the base installation design completed.

With over 60 vendors putting a tick in the SD-WAN box, be aware that these range from the smallest nod to SD-WAN to the fully pure-play, where SD-WAN is all they do.

That’s why the team at Teneo lives our mission of “Opening Minds to New Possibilities”, helping companies through this minefield of choice, which always starts with questions like, “What does SD-WAN mean to you?” and, “What are you trying to achieve?”

You should be able to tie SD-WAN to a business or technology objective. If that’s not possible, then we should all agree that SD-WAN is a distraction for you and move on. If you’re just looking for cost savings, you might be surprised that this isn’t always achievable with SD-WAN. But if you have a challenge around the time it takes to open new offices, you’re paying for a secondary MPLS circuit as an insurance policy, want to reduce footprint at remote sites and use Direct Internet Access, or you’re embracing the Cloud, then SD-WAN should absolutely be part of your IT strategy in my opinion.

We’re seeing SD-WAN implementations across a wide variety of industry sectors. We’ve been through the early pain of implementing SD-WAN and we continually review the vendors within the SD-WAN market space. That means we’ll be very open in telling you where technology has had challenges and where it’s worked without a hitch.

Added to this, there are some great customer success stories out there now for SD-WAN, which help to prove the concept and dispel the myths.

Teneo runs an SD-WAN Workshop, which can be as high-levelled or as detailed as you need it to be to help you reach a conclusion quickly on how SD-WAN can be an enabler for your IT projects or whether it would be more of a distraction right now. You’ll find more information on the Teneo SD-WAN Workshop here

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