Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is creating a significant buzz in the IT world, but despite its myriad benefits, many companies that implement it aren’t doing so as a replacement for multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). Instead, SD-WAN is being added to existing MPLS configurations to eliminate complexity and create differentiation.
The benefits of implementing SD-WAN are numerous, including cost savings, improved performance and agility, and better security and reliability than what can be achieved through an MPLS system. Many companies are adding SD-WAN into their existing MPLS systems rather than switching them, creating a hybrid SD-WAN situation.
The goal with these hybrid systems is to capture the lower costs for Internet traffic, and, in theory, to eliminate complexity in the network. What ends up happening, instead, is that enterprises end up with more complexity than they anticipated. Many providers of SD-WAN are now bundling managed services in a way that sidesteps a more complex configuration.
For instance, when a company has an existing MPLS system, and they decide they want to introduce another type of connection either as a backup or to access a lower-cost bandwidth, it can create some complications. The new connection requires a reconfiguration to achieve the goals the company is after to get the desired policy.
There are many determinations that have to be worked through before an enterprise can go live with an SD-WAN hybrid. The company has to decide which type of Internet traffic is set to go over certain lines by default, and which conditions will dictate another line (jitter, delay, latency). If a line is down, it must be determined how the Internet traffic will be prioritized until additional lines are available.
In this situation, you’re going from a single link where questions are simply of a quality of service (QoS) nature, to a conversation about load balancing and how to route Internet traffic.
Another topic that comes up with clients that want to implement an SD-WAN hybrid solution is the elimination of hair pinning with Internet traffic. An SD-WAN component allows traffic to flow freely between the cloud and the enterprise, but no longer between branches of the enterprise so it offers a much better situation for Internet traffic flow.
The introduction of SD-WAN is still relatively new, so providers are still getting a feel for the preferences of their enterprise clients in how SD-WAN fits into an existing MPLS configuration, or if there’s a desire to fully replace the MPLS. In many situations, a bundling of managed services strikes the right balance without introducing unnecessary complexity.
Talk with MicroCorp about creating customized managed services for SD-WAN for your clients. We can walk you through every consideration and benefit for including SD-WAN in the network setup for a particular enterprise. Give us a call.