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SD-WAN: Finally a WAN for the Rest of Us!

Use cases, purchase strategies, and other considerations for the enterprise use of SD-WAN technologies.

  • The network has more and more nodes, many of which are not within your direct control.
  • MPLS is slow to provision and expensive to consume if it’s even available where it’s needed.
  • User traffic is more and more destined NOT to the DC but rather to public cloud services – why then am I backhauling everything to that data center?
  • Security policies and objectives have been inextricably linked to the technology used to enact them – this is binding us to an old and outmoded way of doing things.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • SD-WAN is your gateway to full SDN and NFV functionality. NSX has been doing it deep in the data center, SD-WAN proves its viability at the branch. Software-defined networking and network function virtualization are the future of both centralized and distributed IT operations. It is time to embrace them and learn some new skills.
  • Branch internet access is not only necessary but also viable! Why mess with complex QoS polices on expensive backhaul links when the traffic is destined to go elsewhere anyways? Sufficient controls can now be consistently implemented remotely to allow diverse and redundant local internet breakout.

Impact and Result

  • Improve network performance service levels. Leverage commodity circuits to provide better performance and reliability than MPLS.
  • Increase agility. With the ability to push policy and control to anywhere an internet connection can be procured (including broadband, 4G, and even space internet), you can now do business … pretty much everywhere!
  • Build a proof-of-concept/demo plan that accurately predicts value in your real world. Rather than focusing on vendors’ shiny marchitecture, craft a reasonable value hypothesis that is specific to your organization.

SD-WAN: Finally a WAN for the Rest of Us! Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out if you have problems that SD-WAN might be able to solve or SD-WAN vendors might try to convince you they can solve.

1. Check that vendor hype at the door!

“Good” doesn’t always mean “good for you." Technology should support your goals, not the vendors’.

2. Build a purchase strategy

Buying stuff is easy; what else do I need to do that they aren’t telling me?

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John Annand


  • Rupert Penzinger, Vice President, Information Technology, SIM Group
  • Four anonymous contributors

Search Code: 95515
Last Revised: November 30, 2020

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