As organizations seek to deliver fast, scalable, and flexible connectivity, software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) solutions have emerged as an attractive strategy. The demand for SD-WAN is growing rapidly, and they can be deployed in multiple ways: do-it-yourself (DIY) or managed solutions.
With DIY SD-WAN, an organization’s own IT team sets up and manages all the components in-house. A managed SD-WAN provides organizations with an out-of-the-box solution to manage multiple network connections, critical applications, and security.
Whether you use DIY or managed SD-WAN is not an easy decision to make. You need to consider several factors and it is not as simple as choosing between other on-premises versus cloud-based solutions.
In this guide, you will learn more about these two methods so that you can determine what fits right for your company.
Before we go into the implementation types, lets take a brief look at the technology itself.
A Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a modern enterprise network solution that abstracts many network layer functions into software. It can be overlaid on any physical or virtual circuits, enabling the effective routing of traffic over multiple network types, including MPLS, broadband internet, wireless 5G and so on. By routing traffic intelligently, SD-WAN helps allocate network resources effectively and dynamically, ensuring that every path is optimized for unhampered data delivery.
As the world moves towards a cloud-powered and mobile-centric era, having fixed infrastructure is less than ideal. SD-WAN bridges the gap by allowing users to make a single network out of several underlying connections. It helps companies shift from exclusive and expensive MPLS connections to hybrid networks. Low priority information can be sent over cheaper public networks, significantly reducing costs without compromising on quality. With SD-WAN, it is possible to switch and match circuits based on bandwidth availability, preventing network disruption despite connection failure.
You can use a SD-WAN central GUI administration panel to monitor and control traffic from the cloud. This innovative technology is perfect if your business handles heavy traffic at multiple locations. You can scale up or down depending on the network requirements. It’s a flexible option to keep up with peak-and-valley demands that are now the norm for IT systems. SD-WAN provides agility and flexibility that legacy infrastructures lack.
In the DIY model, enterprises choose to purchase SD-WAN routing equipment and install and configure it themselves at each branch and remote site. The in-house IT team is also responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the SD-WAN equipment, connections, and software. This model is favored by larger enterprises with significant internal expertise in network deployment, configuration, and monitoring.
In managed SD-WAN, companies hire a third party provider to handle the installation and ongoing support of their SD-WAN deployment. Models vary – you can choose from fully-managed to hybrid co-managed options. Managed SD-WAN takes the labor-intensive elements and uncertainties out of SD-WAN and puts it into the capable hands of dedicated third-party professionals. They have the training and experience to design and maintain an optimally performing SD-WAN network for you.
If you choose to go ahead with managed SD-WAN, you will have to pick a provider. There are many in the market and you need to find the right fit for your company. Some factors to consider include:
Every MSP will promise you top SD-WAN expertise, but you need someone who can tailor a solution for your particular domain
SD-WAN is highly software-reliant, which makes quality assurance(QA) an aspect that they need to deliver without hiccups for you. To get a good grasp of the provider’s QA process, inquire about their software testing, including certifying new code and handling bugs as they emerge. Ask them how they can detect such issues and resolve them before proceeding to production, and observe whether they have a clear path towards the promised QA.
A good MSP will provide capacity-on-demand, scaling up or down to match your network needs. As a virtual technology, SD-WAN should be agile to complement cloud-based services and resources. They should also offer flexible deployment options that consider your timetable and requirements.
The provider should have several options available, such as MPLS, Wireless, or broadband circuits. If they offer the global reach, it could also be indicative of their competitiveness and capacity to partner with other carriers across the globe.
Going the DIY route for SD-WAN deployment might be practical if you have the internal expertise and organizational requirement. Managed SD-WAN is the better option if you prefer having experts at the helm of your digital transformation. Remember you don’t have to pick either or. You can always go with a hybrid model that gives best of both worlds.
Contact CarrierBid technologies to explore your options and receive an unbiased recommendation that works!