SD-WAN Deployments: What Global Enterprises Must Consider

sd wan deployment
SD-WAN has been touted as the leading technology to help drive global enterprises through their digital transformation initiatives. And nearly every network vendor on the market today has their own flavor of SD-WAN vying to improve application performance, reduce cost and complexity, and deliver enterprise-grade security.

The potential is there for businesses of any size to receive these benefits from an SD-WAN solution, but it’s important to understand SD-WAN is not a “one-size, fits all” solution.

In order to help you understand what’s available on the market today, we’ve put together a list of potential questions to ask an SD-WAN provider before choosing one to deploy.

Is the network regional or global?

A regional-based SD-WAN deployment will reduce network complexity and lower costs by replacing legacy MPLS links with aggregated connections from the public Internet. However, data and application delivery must rely on handshakes from multiple Internet providers to complete the “middle mile” of connectivity. If you’re conducting business on a global level, this leaves you susceptible to poor application performance and security threats when collaborating with users over large distances.

The hybrid approach (MPLS with Internet-based SD-WAN) does not solve the application performance issue. MPLS is expensive, it takes forever to deploy, and does not guarantee cloud and SaaS application performance for today’s digital transformation. Adding SD-WAN appliances to this mix only introduces new problems in an attempt to solve the issue at hand.

A global SD-WAN is built using private network connectivity backed by QoS and SLAs, so data and applications stay on one dedicated and secure path to reach its destination. This is a core component in addressing global application performance issues normally found with the public Internet.

Is the network transport Layer 2 or Layer 3?

This is a critical point to bring up when it comes to searching for a global provider. A layer 3 network involves handling the transmission of data and applications at the packet level through the Internet. Though there may be security offered by vendors using this layer of connectivity, your applications will still be plagued with poor performance due to congestion from a public medium.

Look for an SD-WAN offering global connectivity through a software-defined Layer 2 core. Data and applications are transported through one dedicated link over the network. This not only provides all your enterprise traffic with a private fastlane with QoS and 99.99% SLAs, but a secure and dedicated link between two locations that can resist application and DDoS attacks normally found within the Internet.

Is WAN traffic optimized?

For the foreseeable future, WAN traffic growth will continue to increase globally, and outstrip local efforts to keep up with demand worldwide. This is what makes WAN optimization important in order to deliver optimal application performance globally. If the goal is to deliver real-time collaboration between sites in the U.S. and Asia, most SD-WAN providers will suggest you add an extra appliance for each location, so choose wisely.

There are some vendors out there who offer WAN optimization layered over their global network component. WAN Optimization further reduces latency, packet loss and network congestion providing a robust global network that guarantees overall application performance.

This not only enables faster performance for cloud-based applications and platforms such as Office 365 and SAP Business ByDesign, but also enhanced performance for hosted voice and video solutions such as WebEx, Zoom, and other UCaaS applications.

Will it work with cloud platforms and SaaS applications?

Your WAN should be able to connect end users seamlessly to all your business-critical applications and platforms. This means more than direct connects to cloud computing platforms such as AWS and Azure; this includes optimizing traffic flowing from any and all direct connects. This also means not having to backhaul your connectivity through the data center.

Find an SD-WAN vendor that will provide a solution for direct connectivity to top cloud services through their network. This will enable your workforce to have fast access to these platforms and applications from every remote location around the world.

Do I have to build the network myself? – A DIY approach

Some SD-WAN vendors only provide devices for each office, and it’s up to the IT department to build out the network. This leaves IT with the dirty job of purchasing connectivity, orchestrating each device, managing and maintaining multiple telco contracts, and ensuring connections at each location are up and running. An effort of this caliber can leave your business waiting months before a full global network is deployed, and having higher-level projects delayed. In addition, telco doesn’t provide an optimized network which is a key for application performance.

SD-WANs delivered as a service offer fully-integrated solutions with 24x7x365 support. The provider takes care of managing the network on behalf of customer to maintain everything at each location. Think of this as adding 10 more people to your IT team who can help you out in reaching your enterprise’s digital transformation journey. Majority of large and mid-size global enterprises are currently looking to adopt as SD-WAN as-a-service solutions, so that you can focus on other pressing needs. What is even cooler is that, vendors such as Aryaka can have your entire enterprise WAN up and running in as little time as 2 hours making digital transformation a smoother journey

Don’t Settle for Less

There is no excuse for making do with a low grade and unoptimized network. Your enterprise users deserve a top quality network that can guarantee performance of their business critical applications. Regardless of the SD-WAN deployment you undertake for your digital transformation strategy, consider some of the major elements mentioned above before choosing a vendor. Your SD-WAN shouldn’t force you to sacrifice stability, security, and application performance for something that is easier to manage and cheaper to roll out.

A global SD-WAN as a service provides a private network that is stable and reliable. WAN Optimization and last mile optimization further reduce latency, packet loss and network congestion providing a robust global network that guarantees overall application performance. Support team does the heavy lifting to make sure your network and applications are meeting your enterprise’s objectives so that you can focus on other pressing needs.

To learn more, download our white paper, SD-WAN vs. MPLS, Key Considerations for you Enterprise network to learn more.

About the author

Sindhuja Kolluru
Sindhu is a Product Manager at Aryaka, and is passionate about advancing technology to deliver customer solutions. She holds a MBA from University of Texas and a technical degree from Indian Institute of technology.