The signs are SD WAN is finally becoming the game changer it was always claimed to be – over a decade ago (see our previous blog on the subject). While there are undoubtedly several key benefits to your organisation taking the SD WAN route, don’t expect these can be realised without knowing a thing or two about the technology as well as WANs in general.
Let’s assess the benefits of SD WAN, then we’ll consider the way forward to achieving them:
- SD WAN reduces downtime with instantaneous failover between redundant WAN circuits.
- Improves overall network performance by routing specific applications based on their characteristics over the most suitable and best performing WAN link.
- Paves the way to migrate easily with minimal disruption between different WAN access technologies i.e. FTTC to FTTP migration.
- Natively aggregates bandwidth across multiple WAN links to improve performance, without the need for constant manual tuning i.e. BGP route maps etc.
- Significantly improves deployment rollout timescales by defining site types and pushing configurations / policies to sites from central controllers.
Buyer beware. The benefits may be obvious based on industry literature and existing hype in the public domain – don’t be fooled, SD WAN is not plug n play.
It cannot be stressed enough that the successful delivery of SD WAN solutions is completely dependent on having in depth understanding of WAN and SD WAN technology – either in-house or by utilising a technology partner experienced in delivering these solutions.
Here are three factors influencing a successful SD WAN implementation:
- Many building blocks exist to create any SD WAN solution including underlays, overlays, orchestration tools and application-based routing policies. These components have inter-dependencies on each other in respect of the order in which they are implemented. This must be considered and accounted for at the design phase.
- There are several considerations on how the SD WAN solution will integrate with the LAN, for example if multiple overlays are provided in the SD WAN fabric, how will these hand off to the LAN?
- Alternatively, and perhaps in addition, if Secure Access Services Edge (SASE) is to be used and integrated with the SD WAN solution, how does an organisation assess local versus centralised breakout to the internet and what are the pros / cons of each approach? Moreover, how is the security policy of the organisation considered as part of this design process?
By choosing a technology partner such as MLL who has significant experience in SD WAN delivery, you can be confident that any planned SD WAN initiative is in safe hands. All the above considerations will be addressed in the design.
Stay tuned for more blogs and insight on future networking technology trends as well as details about our forthcoming webinars.