Conversational SD-WAN: What Software Defined WAN Is, How it Works, and Deciding If It’s for You

Conversational SD-WAN: What Software Defined WAN Is, How it Works, and Deciding If It’s for You

Have you been to any networking events lately where the talk didn’t turn to software defined WAN technology (SD-WAN)? Probably not, given the excitement SD-WAN is generating in the industry. Even so, many IT professionals have questions about exactly what it is, how it works, what capabilities it offers, whether their enterprise really needs it – and if so, how best to deploy it.

The answers are here, and yes, these answers are actually easy to read and understand.

A new Conversational SD-WAN publication from Conversational Geek is a comprehensive guide to understanding SD-WAN. Written for the not-so-technical audience and authored by an IT consultant (not Masergy), the guide breaks down the features and functionality of SD-WAN so you can make smart buying decisions. Here’s a sneak peek:

SD-WAN: Why the Hype?

By now, most IT professionals have heard the hype about SD-WAN but many struggle when it comes to crafting a plan for deployment. They know SD-WAN should be part of their network architecture upgrade, but they need guidance in how and where to overlay it within their IT ecosystem. The beauty of SD-WAN solutions is flexibility. Enterprises gain greater value and agility from all their WAN links regardless of the connectivity type. That includes hybrid networks that mix private WAN links and site-to-site virtual private network (VPN) connections over the public internet, including VPN connectivity to cloud-based resources. It also includes traditional private MPLS, virtual private LAN service (VPLS), and point-to-point leased-line connections, where the traffic remains within telecom carriers’ networks.

What features do SD-WAN offerings include?

Of course there will be differences among SD-WAN solutions. Fundamentally, however, they all offer capabilities for enterprises to optimize their total bandwidth. SD-WAN lets you use all WAN connections at every site--from your primary MPLS to your tertiary broadband Internet links--simultaneously while intelligently steering traffic to optimize application performance. They also make it possible to add new WAN connections and sites quickly. In some cases, new SD-WAN sites can be self-provisioned by the customer in a web portal. So, you can simply point-and-click your way to setting up a new office’s connection. In this guide, you’ll get in-depth explanations of SD-WAN features and benefits related to:

  • Active-active links
  • Quality of service
  • Forward error correction
  • WAN optimization
  • Automatic VPN tunnels
  • Integration with dynamic routing protocols

When should you use SD-WAN?

Perhaps it’s better just to note the situations where a company would not benefit from the technology, since those scenarios are scarce. For example, you might not get a lot out of an SD-WAN if:

  • You don’t have many WAN connections
  • What you use performs well and is fairly maintenance-free
  • You don’t plan to add any more links in the foreseeable future
  • You only want one WAN connection at each location

In those cases, you can still get superior performance using a pure WAN optimization solution, but the paper explores additional areas of consideration, such as ROI, budgeting questions, and more.

What’s the best way to get SD-WAN up and running?

You have the choice between unmanaged and managed SD-WAN systems. Very large enterprises with a significant number of highly trained networking experts on staff may prefer a self-managed solution. But most other businesses are likely to opt for working with a managed service provider--one with a track record of implementing and managing SD-WANs. In addition to the advantage of trading capital expenses for operational ones, managed solution providers maintain availability and upgrades and can bring additional capabilities such as troubleshooting help, application discovery to support your prioritization requirements, and direct connectivity to their own private MPLS cloud or to cloud providers like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.

That’s the nutshell version of the publication, but to really get into the meat out of SD-WAN technology, we invite you to download the new Conversational SD-WAN paper.

About John Dumbleton

SVP, Business Development, Masergy
John Dumbleton has over 20 years experience in networking and IT solutions and has served as Senior Vice President, Business Development at Masergy since May 2008. He is responsible for strategic business development and oversees the marketing and demand generation efforts at Masergy. His experience ranges from strategic sales, channel development, and product development to business strategy and strategic acquisitions. John holds an MBA and bachelors of science in industrial engineering and operations research from Virginia Tech.