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Getting Beyond the Hype: Why SD-WAN will Take Enterprise Networks to The Next Level


While the long path to SD-WAN’s current success may surprise some, the truth is that we are just getting started. In North America we’re barely in the top of the third inning of the SD-WAN game. In other regions of the world, we are barely in the second inning...
Network Management: By leaving behind the costly, inflexible architectures of standard WANs, the process of configuring, monitoring and analyzing the entire WAN can be greatly streamlined. Further, branch office consolidation of multiple functions and boxes into one is possible.

Most SD-WAN offerings will address the streamlined device and policy management piece. A failsafe SD-WAN can not only provide advanced visibility into WAN and application performance (making troubleshooting easier), it can also vastly reduce the amount of troubleshooting necessary by automatically fixing network problems in sub-seconds and reporting back to the network administrator what happened, rather than merely giving him or her information to track down and fix the problem.

Cost Savings: While the impact of SD-WAN on costs will vary from one deployment to the next, overall costs can be broken down into two buckets: hard costs and soft savings. Hard costs—specifically the cost of MPLS compared to other modes of network transport—can make a major impact. MPLS can cost 100x more per Mbps per month than broadband, leaving substantial room for reduction, whereas moving from singular MPLS to an SD-WAN with MPLS plus Internet could yield smaller but still considerable savings.

Once deployed, SD-WAN can result in accrued soft savings over time. Per above, with most SD-WAN offerings, organizations will realize the benefits of centralized, more streamlined management. With a failsafe SD-WAN, enterprises will see quicker—often immediate and unnoticed—issue resolution, more predictable application performance with fewer bottlenecks and outages, and can realize substantial savings by spending less money and energy alike tackling these challenges.

What’s Next for SD-WAN?

While the long path to SD-WAN’s current success may surprise some, the truth is that we are just getting started. In North America we’re barely in the top of the third inning of the SD-WAN game. In other regions of the world, we are barely in the second inning of this transition. As organizations large and small continue to move toward a multi-cloud world, SD-WAN will only grow in importance. Delivering easier cloud access and network management—without sacrificing the failsafe reliability that IT and end users alike have come to expect from their enterprise WANs over the years—will likely spell the difference between success and failure of the migration of applications to the cloud, so organizations would do well to make sure that their SD-WAN provider can offer a failsafe, carrier-agnostic solution.

The Bottom Line

While SD-WAN is not nascent, the market is still naïve. With dozens of players from disparate vantage points converging on a market primed for growth, the definition of SD-WAN can be hazy, and separating true benefits from hype is no easy task. While buyers may need to read between the lines, what’s clear is that there is massive potential ahead, both for SD-WAN and for organizations that deploy the technology.



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