Navigating the SD-WAN Landscape – Key Considerations for Choosing Solutions

SD-WAN provides centralized management, allowing IT to simplify network operations across locations. Navigating the SD-WAN landscape enables flexible WAN connectivity by prioritizing traffic, reducing latency and jitter, and ensuring redundant high-quality paths. It can be critical for sites that cannot afford disruptions, like financial trading rooms.

What Factors Impact the Cost of SD-WAN Solutions?

Several factors can impact the cost of SD-WAN solutions. One of the most common is a solution’s ability to deliver rock-solid connectivity to applications, particularly those hosted in the cloud. It is significant for enterprises such as contact centers, where an elevated level of application performance is critical to customer service. Centralized management is another factor that can lower network costs by simplifying and streamlining operations across distributed locations.

Unreliable Internet is a challenge for most businesses, especially those that work in remote locations. SD-WAN can help by aggregating multiple links to maintain application quality and enabling intelligent routing based on link quality. It allows businesses to continue operating during intermittent outages or when routes are overcrowded due to ISP issues.

Additionally, many top SD WAN solutions support IoT-based analytics that can be used to identify device connectivity trends and the cause of such anomalies. This information can be used to improve device connectivity or resolve issues at the source proactively. Lastly, some providers offer managed SD-WAN offering delivered via uCPE or self-install CPEs to enable rapid deployment of new sites and minimize the need for on-site IT support. It can also lower the total cost of ownership for the solution. It is especially true if the vendor offers a pay-per-use model for routing or WAN optimization services.

Scalability of SD-WAN Solutions

Regarding scalability, it is not only about meeting current and expected contexts; it is also about ensuring that systems can adjust without disruption to meet future needs. It requires a comprehensive approach to the network and an understanding that scalability goes beyond just hardware or software.

The scalability for navigating the SD-WAN landscape solutions offers a significant benefit regarding network performance and security. This technology can allow businesses to connect remote and mobile workers while reducing costs and simplifying network management. It can also increase the reliability and security of data transfers to and from the cloud.

Unlike MPLS, which is rigid and expensive to upgrade, SD-WAN uses more affordable broadband Internet connections for most traffic, saving more expensive bandwidth for high-priority applications. This flexibility enables companies to maximize their networking investments.

In addition, the scalability of SD-WAN solutions can help IT teams streamline their network operations by providing centralized management for all branch locations. It can reduce complexity and eliminate manual tasks like deploying new policies, updates, and security configurations. It can also accelerate response times for troubleshooting efforts and improve productivity by eliminating the need for physical hardware on-site.

Another way SD-WAN can bolster scalability is by leveraging artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps). These capabilities allow IT teams to automate manual tasks, increasing efficiency and improving user support.

Security Features

An essential factor in vetting SD-WAN solutions is the level of security they provide. Look for a solution that delivers security features like network-wide encryption, integrated PKI, and internal network segmentation over the WAN as table stakes functionality. It should also come with a next-generation firewall (NGFW) that is easy to manage and deploy.

Another primary consideration is how easy it will be for IT teams to manage the solution. Unlike traditional routers that require complex command line interface (CLI) configuration, SD-WAN solutions can be easily configured via a simple web interface. It can help reduce IT workloads and make the management of application flow simpler and more efficient.

In addition to simplifying the management of application flows, SD-WAN solutions can also increase bandwidth by reducing packet loss and latency. Technology can automatically choose the best path for data transmission based on real-time network conditions. It can improve real-time application performance and ensure that data stays secure.

When choosing a Managed SD-WAN service, it is crucial to consider your organization’s current bandwidth requirements and future growth. It would be best if you also felt your budget and risk appetite. If you are considering making a change, it is critical to meticulously document your network topology and plan for the transition. It will enable a smoother migration and prevent potential disruptions.

Cost and Performance

When choosing an SD-WAN solution, it is crucial to consider its compatibility with your current infrastructure. It can impact both the cost and performance of the system and future scalability. The first step in this process is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current network architecture. It will help you determine if the solution can be implemented effectively and whether it is worth investing in.

The key is understanding how the solution integrates with your business processes and digital services. It is crucial for improving user experiences and enhancing productivity. For example, if you rely on cloud-based applications, your users will experience performance issues if the connection is fast and consistent. With SD-WAN, you can improve performance by routing traffic over the most reliable path based on bandwidth consumption and availability.

Another aspect to consider is how the solution will support application-specific requirements, such as latency and packet loss. It is especially critical for applications sensitive to network performance and requiring stable and secure connectivity. Choosing a provider supporting your infrastructure at every location is also essential. 

Sum up

Navigating the SD-WAN landscape involves careful consideration of numerous factors to ensure an optimal solution for network efficiency and security. Cost considerations are influenced by the ability to deliver reliable connectivity to critical applications, centralized management, and support for IoT-based analytics. The scalability of SD-WAN solutions proves instrumental in enhancing network performance and security, allowing for flexible connectivity, and streamlined operations. Essential security features, including network-wide encryption and next-generation firewalls, should be prioritized during the vetting process. Moreover, the compatibility of an SD-WAN solution with existing infrastructure significantly impacts both cost and performance, emphasizing the need for a thorough evaluation before implementation.

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