Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) offers a range of benefits that are shortlisting this technology for most enterprises investing in cloud solutions. Its ability to optimize networking, reduce costs and increase agility is attractive to enterprise IT, but all SD-WAN providers are not created equal.
The popularity of SD-WAN means there’s a rush among providers to offer the networking solution to new and existing clients, but don’t sign on with a particular provider without including the following considerations:
Accessibility: All SD-WAN providers will give you the impression of a high level of accessibility during the sales process, but how easy is it to get assistance once your system is deployed? The best providers won’t just walk you through deployment, but will come alongside you to optimize your networking practices to get the greatest possible benefit out of SD-WAN.
You should also look for SD-WAN providers that offer an expert point of contact. Your enterprise could get lost in a sea of contacts if you choose a larger provider and aren’t offered a dedicated representative. One benefit of choosing a local, smaller SD-WAN provider is that you’ll likely have a lot of face-to-face time with your representative, who will offer on-site assistance and individualized support.
Total cost of ownership: Any SD-WAN solution should quickly provide a return on investment (ROI) by replacing multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) pathways with public internet alternatives, eliminating bottlenecks and increasing visibility. That doesn’t mean that all SD-WAN ROI is the same. You’ll need to evaluate your total cost of ownership based on several factors:
· Investments in hardware, software subscriptions, and support
· Savings on security features such as firewalls
· Estimated savings compared to hybrid WAN solutions
· IT savings in areas like configuration, maintenance, and updates
· Network uptime expectations
It can be challenging to arrive at a reliable estimate for your total cost of ownership, but SD-WAN providers should offer relevant data or provide a case study involving a similar deployment.
Ease of deployment: No two SD-WAN deployments will ever be identical, but your provider should offer a comprehensive SD-WAN solution based on your needs, including:
· Number of users and remote sites
· On-premises and cloud applications and services
· Workload patterns
· Estimated WAN usage
· Budget guidelines
Ease of management: The promise of centralized control and visibility doesn’t guarantee ease of management. In addition, user satisfaction can vary because there’s no uniform approach to this type of networking. You need to consider not only your user experience with that particular solution, but also the following factors:
· The integration of a particular solution with your existing architecture.
· Traffic prioritization considerations.
· Transparency across your WAN and hybrid environments.
It’s also a good idea to communicate your networking priorities with the SD-WAN providers you’re considering, including any particular concerns such as enhanced networking security or a hybrid deployment.
Pricing-to-value: Before rushing to choose a provider that’s offering a lower price, consider the price-to-value comparison, as well as service level agreements and areas like flexibility and agility. Be sure that your SD-WAN solution meets not just your budgetary needs, but also equips you for innovation.
Whether you’re just beginning to evaluate SD-WAN providers or you’re close to a decision, contact us at AMD Communications. We can assist you in your process to identify the ideal SD-WAN solution that provides the features and service you want at the price your budget requires.