An Introduction to SD-WAN Employment

By CIOReview | Thursday, July 11, 2019

SD-WAN guarantees promising benefits. But if a company is considering SD-WAN deployment, it should take time to prioritize remote sites and go through the collected data to make sure it is right for the organization.

FREMONT, CA: Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technologies are being marketed as an end-all and be-all solution to remove costly multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and metro Ethernet connections for low-cost broadband. Some situations, however, dictate the requirement to maintain a few or all leased-line connectivity. Listed are several of the connectivity decision points an organization should consider beginning its preparation for an SD-WAN deployment:

1. Prioritization of Remote Sites:

The first step in any SD-WAN migration plan is to prioritize remote sites by their critical nature. If a website is considered vital to the organization, maintenance of the company’s leased-line infrastructure should be ensured operational around the clock. However, a company can consider a substitute connection by implementing SD-WAN and adding a broadband link as a secondary link, which will give it intelligent routing capabilities over a less-expensive transport medium.

2. Research of Broadband Options:

If a remote website is on the lower end of an upcoming enterprise’s criticality list, then it should consider replacing those leased lines with SD-WAN. The organization may run into situations where multiple carriers for broadband links do not exist for which, a thorough investigation of leased-line options is necessary before making any final decision on an SD-WAN deployment.

3. Migration to Sites Incrementally:

An enterprise should transfer its remote sites to SD-WAN on a rolling basis by starting with just a few low-priority locations. But in every state of affairs, SD-WAN deployment will need configuration modifications to better optimize the WAN for the organization’s specific data transport needs and applications.

4. Crunch through Numbers:

Finally, once the enterprise has investigated remote site capabilities, it can downgrade or eliminate its expensive leased-line connectivity. After the broadband options have been resolved, the organization needs to crunch through the numbers. Since SD-WAN technologies are relatively new, the cost reduction of overall leased-line substitutions with broadband must cover the price of purchasing SD-WAN software, hardware, and services over a relatively short time frame.