SD-WAN solution essentials: Reliability, innovation and integration skills win

Business needs and enterprise reach are driving monumental shifts in the architecture of networks. Naturally, the SD-WAN vendor market has responded aggressively, knowing that by 2020 the space willbe worth more than six billion dollars, according to IDC. Choices are vast and include offerings from tried and true large networking vendors, focused WAN specialists and venture-funded startups.
We know SD-WAN technology is an effective and economical solution that addresses goals for agility, speed, security. Understanding your enterprise needs will help lead you to the optimal vendor. As
important as unique case scenarios is the assurance that a vendor partner will not disrupt the current WAN scenario as SD-WAN installation is in process and building an SD-WAN that can securely carry cloud demands.

The three main vendor types are:
1. Controller-based solutions
2. Appliance based overlay solutions that create a virtual IP network between vendors hardware across any network
3. Advanced automation and change control solutions using existing hardware

One reputable player cited in a Packet Pushers blog post written by Ethan Banks expounds on NetScaler (Citrix’s skin in the game), which features, “…treating multiple WAN circuits as a unified pool of bandwidth, centralized reporting, and integrated WAN optimization. The product “appears to be the real deal,” he said. NetScaler was also cited in Network Computing’s 12 Sizzling SD-WAN Vendors. Network World offers four considerations to help prepare you as you explore SD-WAN solution that is right for your business.

1. Automated management – The impact of automation on deployment and management costs =training and staffing. IT organizations should ask vendors how they minimize the cost and effort of
“Day 2” operations management such as policy changes, adding new applications, security and image updates
2. Route control – Without proper route control, business critical applications running on the WAN may not get the bandwidth, priority and load balancing needed for the best user experience.
Ideally, application traffic utilizes all available WAN circuits and bandwidth to make best use of and IT department’s existing WAN infrastructure, by load balancing across WAN circuits and utilizing
backup edge routers
3. Proactive – consider a solution’s ability to detect problems and respond to network outages so that critical applications don’t experience loss of service. Looking at the management tools of a
solution can provide insight into IT management
4. Support for hybrid deployments – Can the solution support hybrid deployments by combining multiple WAN transports such as MPLS, Internet, cellular or satellite links? Each has different
capabilities in areas such as bandwidth, SLA classes of service, security postures, and pricing

We know your choices are plentiful. After you’ve reviewed and prioritized against the needs of your business, next consider a checklist of vendor fundamentals where technological prowess, customer
service and agility in implementation are all of equal value.