Systematic Support for Next-Gen Networks

By: Ben Edmond

SD-WAN is currently one of the most rapidly expanding areas of the network infrastructure market. What does this mean for network providers trying to stay ahead of the curve? There are several challenges bearing down on providers as they grow network footprints to support SD-WAN deployments for their clients. To rise above, they’ll need to depend on the emergence of purpose-built software to create, assemble, and take action on all the intelligence necessary to support SD-WAN proposals for their customer base. What, exactly, are network providers concerned about? And how can support systems help them?

The WAN wave

Market trends like the rise of new security protocols and SaaS applications are creating a major strain on system administrators trying to handle the increasingly complicated needs of a contemporary enterprise business. Managing connections across a company’s wide area network is becoming so thorny that many IT professionals now use software-defined networking technology to coat the complexity with a user-friendly interface: the birth of SD-WAN.

For companies with many different locations stuck on MPLS routing, the promise of SD-WAN is mammoth. These organizations can now take total control of their own network flow decisions at a central location and deploy them in a distributed manner. At a site level, broadband, LTE, and MPLS connections can all be combined for dynamic load sharing to maximize the user experience for all employees and customers. By configuring a network appropriately, a business can not only ensure connections are optimized for each application but also lower its costs as well. SD-WAN, at its core, is about transitioning from expensive, legacy, carrier-oriented network processes to a world of greater choice, agility, control, and economic viability.

As companies across industries seek to streamline their infrastructure and move toward more cloud integration, the season of SD-WAN is on the cusp of full bloom. SD-WAN sales increased by 64 percent in 2019 and will only continue to grow. Already a billion-dollar market, one estimate expects SD-WAN adoption to increase 168 percent by 2024. Other research expects 80 percent of enterprise organizations to make a determination regarding SD-WAN by early 2022.

Starting off right

The table is set for network providers to serve a valuable new solution in a burgeoning market, but how can they guarantee they are creating an ideal SD-WAN offering for a client? How can they ensure they are positioned to continually grow their market share?

After all, the upfront planning process for even pitching an SD-WAN solution can be arduous. Before value is created, the technology is deployed, or an order is even placed, providers must be keenly aware of how their SD-WAN solution should be best architected to support the client.

To present a trusted and highly differentiated proposal, a provider needs to understand both the connections available at an enterprise location and the applications required to operate based on the organization’s needs. It’s essential to understand where the branch offices are located, and what the local policies are. A provider needs to understand what the last-mile access looks like, whether it is Ethernet or broadband. It’s necessary to know what combination of cloud platforms are in use, whether the client is using AWS or Salesforce. 

All this (and much more) is essential information for making the kind of network decisions that will land a deal. Preparing the best possible plan necessitates the most possible knowledge.


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