SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networking) is routing technology that allows the combination of multiple kinds of connections bonded together to result in one very fast, highly resilient, fault-tolerant secure network. Since it is software-based, it is highly flexible, adaptable, and agile. But there are hundreds of vendors out there, all claiming to offer the best SD-WAN solution, so we’ve compiled six secrets to selecting the right SD-WAN for your needs.
- Essential features you can’t live without
- Support for multiple WAN and connection types
- Easy, remote WAN creation (zero-touch provisioning)
- Reliable, automated connections
- Centralized management orchestration console
- Dynamic resource optimization (path selection)
- Cloud-Era IT agility
- It should be easy to deploy and manage
Finding a solution that is truly easy to deploy and manage isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Centralized, intuitive administration portal is one of the defining features of SD-WAN, but that does not always mean the solution you choose will be easy to manage. Here are a few factors that affect ease of management:
- How well it integrates with your existing architecture
- Traffic prioritization capabilities
- Transparency across WAN, hybrid environments, and users
- It must be able to handle complex requirements
If you have a hybrid environment or mission-critical, complex network security you will want to find a provider that offers these features:
- The ability to prioritize resources by application type or traffic type
- High degree of control over network security policies, and advanced security capabilities
- Traffic and application QoS for premises and cloud deployments
- Integration with legacy WAN infrastructure
- Supports any legacy routing protocols you may have
- Consider managed services
- Managed services can further simplify ongoing maintenance and reduce your cost
- If your security infrastructure is complex, consider a provider that specializes in managed security and compliance
- It must be failover-ready so your network is available 24×7
Your SD-WAN solution should allow you to have a secondary circuit and even enable 4G LTE as a third/backup/tertiary connection. This allows your network to switch over in case the primary and secondary internet connections fail.
- Partner with a trusted advisor, who delivers responsive customer service
This is one of the most important items on the checklist, because no matter what provider you choose, you will want a relationship with a trusted advisor to help you evaluate solutions and match them to your needs, and who will be responsive when you have questions or issues.
- Evaluating solutions
This can be tricky: Vendors are all at different stages of maturity, with varying ability to deliver security while enabling low touch provisioning. The solution provider you select should conduct an in-depth evaluation of your environment, including the number of remote sites and users, the premises and cloud apps and services you have, workload patterns, security posture, anticipated WAN usage and, of course, your budget.
- Service and responsiveness
Bigger isn’t always better. Large telecom providers might promise you a dedicated support person, but they are often unlikely to deliver the responsiveness you need unless you are one of their larger clients.
- Evaluating solutions
The right SD-WAN solution will deliver a network that is fast, resilient, and fault-tolerant. It enables multiple kinds of connections that include broadband, DSL, VPN, MPLS, and even wireless 4G LTE all working together and backing each other up. Since it is software-based it is highly flexible, adaptable, and agile.
Or, contact us and we can help you sort through the options.