With new technology comes the hope of streamlining processes, decreasing costs, and of course getting ahead of the competition.  So it is with SD-WAN. This new way of connecting multi-site organizations enhances flexibility and agility.  So what makes SD-WAN so attractive?  

  1. A software-defined network (SDN) architecture allows for use of multiple vendors for connections creating the opportunity for both time and cost savings. Since there is no requirement for homogenous network connections to create a WAN, you can also save time in provisioning circuits.
  2. With clear visibility for network and application performance, and uniformity in the hardware and software deployment allowing network monitoring at any point, you no longer will have disparate hardware at each location hindering your ability to see the network.
  3. Endpoints are more easily managed because of their uniformity. This means less administrative requirements are needed than would normally be expected.
  4. You can quickly turn up new endpoints, allowing faster, streamlined provisioning of services to any point in your network.

Just a few short years ago if an IT pro claimed a company’s WAN was flexible and agile, they would have been shown the door. Not so today!  But, as with any business decision, it is critical to apply some due diligence to the potential ‘gotchas’ of implementing new technology.  A few things to consider before you begin your SD-WAN implementation.

  1. Take advantage of this great opportunity to train staff in this new networking method: While it is likely that most SD-WAN implementations will be done through a CSP, there is still the need for knowledge on the client side.  The near “plug & play” simplicity of SD-WAN creates a cleaner experience than traditional remote office turn-ups.  To that point, you no longer need to dispatch a network engineer to a remote site; your local branch office manager can handle the start of service.
  2. Be aware of existing contract concerns like buyouts: Another consideration is that you may need to wait for the depreciation of existing hardware currently in your MPLS network build. This is an opportunity to thoroughly examine and audit existing contracts and agreements.
  3. Proactively work to ‘sell’ the new technology and its economic benefits to decision makers in your organization: Outline the benefits SD-WAN will provide to your business as a whole. As is sometimes the tendency in examining a move to a new technology, there may be concerns that the implementation is not necessary aside from being on the ‘cutting edge.’ Fortunately, the benefit of SD-WAN is often an easy case to make.

Are you considering SD-WAN for your organization?  Take it for a test drive in your own environment with CenturyLink’s no hassle, proof of concept trial for 90 days, up to 5 sites.  Don’t miss this opportunity to “kick the tires” to see how SD-WAN simplifies WAN operations.

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