Hybrid WANs make deploying and supporting bandwidth-intensive applications easier. However, they also bring added complexity as different transport methods and vendors are introduced into your network architecture. Internet connections specifically require additional infrastructure, policies, management and oversight. This is where SD-WAN comes into play as a potential solution to your WAN management challenges.  SD-WAN applies the concept of software-defined networking (SDN) technology to wide area network (WAN) connections.

However, getting SD-WAN to fulfill its business potential requires detailed evaluation. Part of this process involves taking the time to align your network strategy with your business strategy. Business drivers will inform decisions about the selection of the appropriate SD-WAN solution and implementation model.

As you embark on developing your SD-WAN implementation plan, I suggest you follow these three steps for evaluating your application and network requirements:

  1. Assess your application footprint and deployment model to understand who is accessing your network and how, what applications are being used, and for what purpose?
  2. Classify and prioritize your applications based on how they will be accessed, level of security and performance requirements.
  3. Develop an application transport strategy by identifying the right access types and policies for your business

The output from your evaluation will serve as the blueprint for your SD-WAN implementation plan. Evaluating your network requirements and identifying the SD-WAN deployment model that will best align with your business needs is the focus of a recent 30-minute webcast that I presented with IDG.

The event is recorded so you can view on your own schedule. After watching, I would welcome any feedback or questions you have about these recommended strategies based on your own experience implementing SD-WAN.

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