Martello BLOG : SD-WAN

SD-WAN solutions are expected to deliver many benefits which can significantly improve the performance of your Unified Communications (UC) deployments. This includes Bandwidth Optimization, Centralized Management and Visibility, Aggregation of Multiple Links into a Single Virtual Network, and Zero-Touch Provisioning. Using a centralized console, you are able to manage the features of your network remotely, which means you won’t have to deploy a technician every time something goes wrong. This helps you dodge downtime and saves you money. Cost savings, however, is not the only benefit to moving over to SD-WAN.

Benefits of moving to SD-WAN is more than just cost savings

The biggest benefit of SD-WAN is the ability to simplify the provisioning and deployment of network infrastructures. SD-WAN is based on better distribution of network intelligence and policy-based, centralized decision-making performed by a network controller or console. When selecting your edge appliances, choose ones that bring the most benefits while adding the smallest footprint to your network. Look for devices that can be integrated at the Data Layer and that can be seamlessly deployed without redesigning your network (eg. Firewall exceptions, routing tables, etc.). SD-WAN also makes it easier to deploy VPN overlays across Wide Area Networks (WAN), which greatly simplifies the end user architecture. All of these benefits are susceptible to greatly improving the network by making it more flexible and more resilient, effectively providing business continuity to end-users.

If the solution is simple then you don’t have to worry about a high overhead. You are able to easily identify issues and apply policy modifications across your entire network with little to no effort. This accelerates deployment time, which increases efficiencies in the business. Adopting a SD-WAN architecture can help improve overall performance when it’s deployed properly. SD-WAN has been touted as the miracle solution to complex WAN deployments. Many providers will often neglect to mention the underlying hardware requirements. Branch offices still require edge devices, and this will remain a fact for the foreseeable future.

SD-WAN has been proposed by some vendors as a means to replacing pre-existing technologies at the edge of network. With SD-WAN products you are often able to replace or complement pre-existing security, optimisation or networking appliances.

Why is now a good time to move to SD-WAN

Now is a great time to move to SD-WAN because you have the option to select the technologies that work for you. SD-WAN is now at a point where it is established, and is becoming a household name. There are constantly new third-party guides to help prepare your business for the transition, and have actual clients who have gone through it that can provide feedback. We are now beyond the phase of early adopters, and you can actually see the results of the change through case studies. SD-WAN is still evolving as technology changes, but it has been stabilized and is less of a risk, so now is a great time to make the investment.

Top Takeaways to Keep in Mind

When looking at SD-WAN products, it’s important not to go to the vendor that has limited experience with network infrastructure or telecommunications. Many newcomers and veterans offer software-only solutions built without any real-life experience with WANs. Always look for a provider with experience in building network infrastructure and, ideally, who can vouch for the equipment they propose to deploy in your network. You also want to find a company that will treat your network with respect and understands the repercussions of putting something in the lifeline of the business.

Interested in more detail? Download our eBook today to get our top tips for selecting the right SD-WAN for your UC deployment. 

At Martello, we always look at September and the return of school as the perfect time to take stock, brush up on some of our skills or gain a better understanding of a subject that we feel a little uncertain of. Maybe you feel the same as we do and have had some questions about SD-WAN and the BIG impact that it can have on your network. Below we have given you a primer on SD-WAN and what it can mean for your UC solution.

The reality is, if you are in the networking space, you already know that delivering reliable network performance is difficult and costly to achieve. The cloud is creating increased network complexity and carrier networks and WAN connectivity haven’t kept pace with the exploding demand for bandwidth. Real-time services are complicating everything because rich media, streaming and UC require costly bandwidth for good performance. Buying the ‘Rolls Royce’ of bandwidth doesn’t help either because it can leave you dependent on just one Internet service provider (ISP) which can leave you vulnerable to outages. How do you manage costs and deliver the service quality users demand?

Software Defined-WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions make the task of managing and optimizing competing network traffic simple and cost effective. With SD-WAN, you control your current bandwidth needs through established policies and prioritizations allowing you to diversify providers, links and technologies to add flexibility – optimizing your network performance.

What does that mean for your UC solution:

Uptime… All the Time
Carrying your network using a single ISP is risky and can get expensive. Using multiple concurrent ISP links though without the proper technology in place is a gamble you shouldn’t take. Using SD-WAN, you can take advantage of carrier diversity because it balances and maximizes the use of costly private circuits by running multiple SIP trunks on multiple ISPs, and dynamic failover ensures you’re not impacted by carrier outages.

Ample Bandwidth for UC – at a Lower Cost
SD-WAN reduces your outlay on bandwidth. Many smaller companies delay the deployment of a UC solution that would improve their business because of the high cost of dedicated MPLS circuits. SD-WAN solutions make it possible to lower bandwidth costs while achieving better results. The freedom to mix and match network technologies and ISPs gives you more control over your costs as well — you’re not dependent on one provider.

Prioritizing UC
Your network is strained by user activity around the clock, and it can be hard to prioritize bandwidth to mission critical applications. Imagine an office where one employee is streaming a FIFA soccer game while customer support is fielding a call from a customer. SD-WAN gives you control over how bandwidth is used, by setting policies that establish prioritization. Policies allow you to identify which applications get a higher bandwidth priority without compromise. SD-WAN solutions can divert less bandwidth-intensive applications to lower-cost DSL circuits so that higher-bandwidth applications, like UC, can operate smoothly.

Always Optimizing for the Best Experience
Taking advantage of ISP diversity keeps costs in check and decreases downtime. SD-WAN behaves according to the policies you’ve set for your organization, but it is flexible so can also make smart and quick decisions on the fly, choosing which packets take priority and which don’t. A resilient infrastructure with managed SD-WAN services can monitor the health of each ISP and distribute the required bandwidth accordingly. If a link fails to respond appropriately, it is removed from the available list – being tested until it is ready.

Delivering reliable network performance is a constant challenge, but with our primer you’ll know how to build a scalable, flexible, and affordable network infrastructure to position your business for success. When it comes to building an agile network, investing in SD-WAN is an obvious choice.