SD-WAN is not about Saving Money

By Marc Sollars

Chief Technology Officer

There, I said it! And it feels good to get it out there.

Many of you reading this will already have a Hybrid WAN, either with Dual MPLS, MPLS with VPN backup, or even dual Internet circuits. You may also have looked at SD-WAN capabilities vs costs and thought you can’t afford to change and instead went back to your carrier to negotiate a better deal on bandwidth costs.

OK, that’s your decision and I respect that, however I would challenge it.

What if I told you that I know of businesses that are using SD-WAN and getting better outcomes from their existing WAN circuits due to understanding how the underlay circuit is really performing and then using the right circuit at the right time. Surely that’s more important to your company’s operations.

A Hybrid network is like the picture above; two options to get to the same place.

You pick a tunnel but can’t see into it before it’s too late. You can’t tell if there are people queuing at the top, whether the escalator is broken, or whether you’re going to emerge at the other end without issue.

SD-WAN is about gaining visibility and an understanding of the underlying circuits. In fact, many of our customers have gone back to their carrier AFTER deploying SD-WAN to beat them up about how badly the MPLS is working, or in some cases delivering less than the expected throughput to achieve the level of service they’re paying for.

SD-WAN also enables the reliability and resilience of networks, whether you have Dual MPLS and want to use both circuits simultaneously, or a single MPLS with multiple internet circuits giving you five nines of availability. And it provides performance improvements, an agile way of bringing up sites either physically or in the cloud, and a smooth way of adding new acquisitions.

With SD-WAN, you can be smarter with your security, simplifying the connectivity into Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect Cloud Service and Zscaler offerings for example. Rather than taking a few hours per site to set up, it now takes minutes and removes the need for hair-pinning internet traffic through the DC.

We’ve taken many customers through this journey… and I will say we have seen some customers save a lot of money on circuits especially in certain parts of the world. However this is not the same everywhere so, stop thinking about the hard cash and open your mind to the benefits to your business and how technology can help you achieve your goals.

I really would appreciate feedback and any comments. Do you think SD-WAN is a fad and won’t take off, or is it worthwhile in certain usage cases only? Let’s hear your thoughts, please challenge me.

 

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