Not all SD-WAN solutions are created equal. The same goes for just about every technology, but in terms of SD-WAN there are multiple deployment options you can choose. Already, the explosion of SD-WAN in 2017 has led to “me too” variants – different service offerings and technologies that all deliver slightly different versions of the SD-WAN experience. Here’s a quick look at the three major variants of SD-WAN technology.
In its basic configuration SD-WAN allows businesses to eschew the expense of an MPLS and rely on multiple consumer-grade internet connections to get the job done. Since carriers are the ones providing these consumer-grade internet connections to begin with, it makes sense to go to the source when looking for someone to manage an SD-WAN implementation. Carriers are catching on, with Verizon announcing a managed SD-WAN service back in 2015.
Carrier-managed SD-WAN makes sense for some businesses. Default, non-carrier-managed SD-WAN often takes the form of an OTT appliance that binds together multiple internet connections. Going to the carriers themselves for SD-WAN often enables features that go above and beyond that basic idea. For example, this might mean the ability to see past an encryption layer, unlocking more granular automation tasks, or more detailed analytics.
There's another theory of SD-WAN. If you're already paying a managed service provider to administrate your IT infrastructure, it would make sense to go to that same company and ask them to manage your SD-WAN implementation. MSPs, however, have only just begun to look at offering SD-WAN services, even though it represents a burgeoning $6 billion market.
By offering SD-WAN, MSPs can improve the quality of the rest of their service offering. SD-WAN adds transparencies to customer networks, letting MSPs add analytics and reporting from the WAN itself. As the MSP scales with the customer, it’s easy for them to add connections to new sites and branch offices, as well as dedicated connectivity for mission-critical cloud applications.
SD-WAN in the Cloud
One of the most important use-cases for SD-WAN is connecting to cloud applications. Cloud applications have become mission-critical for small businesses and enterprises alike. Connecting cloud applications to businesses with SD-WAN means that those connections can be prioritized above all other traffic, ensuring that these applications run at peak performance no matter what else happens on the network.
With so much of what’s driving SD-WAN happening in the cloud, it makes sense that many SD-WAN providers are cutting out the physical SD-WAN appliance and delivering SD-WAN from the cloud itself. Many of our partners are beginning to leverage our Cloud2Edge solution for this. Cloud management and delivery add even more power to SD-WAN deployments, with the ability to add more processing, memory, and bandwidth resources on an as-needed basis to help manage increasingly complicated and demanding networks.
Having Trouble Choosing a Flavor? Try Network Edge Orchestration
With its powerful Network Edge Orchestration solutions, Edgewater Networks provides a platform-neutral complement to SD-WAN technologies. No matter which flavor of SD-WAN you choose, Edgewater Networks provides products that support SD-WAN with advanced analytics, powerful management tools, and zero-touch deployment and provisioning. Keep watching this space for future announcement on how Edgewater Networks will integrate with SD-WAN solutions, or contact us today for more information.