SD-WAN: What Is It and Why

As technology departments look to both lower costs and steer their organizations into the future, IT directors and managers must shore up their networks for the strongest stance. SD-WAN has emerged as one way to accomplish this goal.

What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Network) is a software-defined approach to manage and operate the WAN. SD-WAN networks can be streamlined for all traffic traveling through the link or optimized for specific types of traffic, and all the features and configurations are typically managed through a cloud-based console. SD-WAN enables enterprises to move away from legacy MPLS networks, private lines, and other more costly forms of connectivity, which solves for business challenges of providing a modern network that is global, secure, agile, and more affordable.

Who Benefits from SD-WAN?

SD-WAN is well-suited for companies with multiple offices or branches, since it really benefits businesses needing to have connectivity between several sites and a main datacenter or cloud datacenter. Businesses with video and voice conferencing, and things like ERP systems, are a great fit for SD-WAN as well, since it simplifies the complexity of their networking in favor of a more reliable and efficient solution.

Why Managed SD-WAN vs. DIY?

In a legacy WAN deployment, network administrators are tasked with maintaining BGP routing routes, security rules for applications, QoS tagging for prioritization of critical applications, and designing high availability into the network. The same is true with SD-WAN: if a company has a small team of busy networking folks, managed SD-WAN is a great way to offload daily maintenance and upkeep of the WAN, so the team can focus on other more strategic initiatives.

The Benefits of Managed SD-WAN from an Expert Provider

A co-managed or fully managed SD-WAN approach with an expert provider like InterVision offers the most flexible, customizable, and highest-performing SD-WAN solution.

  • Top tier SD-WAN vendor equipment can be owned by the end client or leased through InterVision financing. This enables the right vendor to be aligned with the client applications and unique environmental demands.
  • Co-managed WAN edge means the business is not locked out of monitoring, reporting, and modification of the configuration to enable the best performance per application on an ongoing basis. The expert provider can also be more proactive and integrate monitoring into tuning of the policies in the solution with the customer’s team involved in key decisions.
  • Additional value of managing the ISP circuit relationships, managed firewalls, and other networking and security services allows for a more comprehensive third-party model to support the customer during issues or afterhours.
  • Total ISP freedom – With a platform that is not tied to an ISP, companies can choose any ISP they have access to (including multiple ISPs) and add them to the SD-WAN solution. This allows for complete cost, performance, and resilience to be engineered into the WAN edge.

SD-WAN is not a quick and simple click-to-deploy kind of solution. Re-engineering and redeploying the WAN for an enterprise is a complex, difficult, and time-consuming process. Both the legacy WAN networks and the new SD-WAN network must be up and functional in parallel. Routing convergence zones must be created for the two networks to communicate, and traffic must be cut by site and application over to the new network and tested. Routing updates and troubleshooting of this kind requires expert-level skills.

InterVision has a robust networking team of seasoned WAN engineering professionals who have depth in both legacy and new SD-WAN design, implementation, and maintenance. Network engineering is one thing, but complex WAN engineering is a top tier talent that we are proud to have such depth in.

Read our SD-WAN webpage for more information or reach out to us to learn more.