Evolve Your WAN to Be Truly Software Defined: The Hybrid Approach to SD-WAN

February 12th, 2018

IT leaders recognize the value of software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN), and when it comes to implementation, 80 percent of executives are opting to augment rather than replace their network technologies, according to a new IDG Market Pulse survey. This is called a hybrid SD-WAN approach, and the advantages are clear.

By implementing SD-WAN in a hybrid fashion, IT leaders can strike a balance between price, performance, and risk tolerance. Hybrid SD-WAN solutions empower enterprises to still leverage their existing networking investments while also customizing WAN connectivity by application, by user, and by location. The result is a highly-flexible solution designed for your specific needs.

Much of the initial marketing hype surrounding SD-WAN led IT folks to believe that they had to make a binary decision with MPLS for example. The fact is, it’s NOT an SD-WAN vs. MPLS situation. While, yes, SD-WAN technically can be a “rip and replace” solution, the Market Pulse research shows only 20 percent replace their network with SD-WAN. Indeed, Masergy’s customers follow the same pattern. We find that in most enterprise use cases, MPLS and SD-WAN can and should coexist.


While buyers are excited about the agility and flexibility that hybrid SD-WAN solutions offer in today’s rapidly changing world, many are still concerned about configuration and maintenance; the breakdown is as follows:

  • 51 percent – interoperability
  • 51 percent – costs
  • 48 percent – skills needed for implementation

This is where managed service providers, like Masergy, can assume control with a turnkey solution. With Managed SD-WAN–just like that–you can get all the SD-WAN advantages with none of the headaches. While critics might say “this sounds like some hocus pocus,” it’s true. Here are two key ways Masergy makes it easy:

  • Benefits without Risks: Most SD-WAN vendors want to sell you a box that you’re expected to deploy on each site and manage yourself. Masergy Managed SD-WAN is different. Our fully-integrated managed solution lets you add SD-WAN where and how it best fits on your network.
  • It’s Never Either/Or: Through native integration with our global Software Defined Network Platform, deploying a custom hybrid SD-WAN solution has never been easier. And, with our access-agnostic approach, you can mix and match access options to strike the optimal balance among price, performance, and resiliency. With Masergy SD-WAN, it’s never an either/or proposition: the choice is yours.

The Takeaway: When plotting your path to SD-WAN, understand the benefits of a hybrid architecture and understand that the feature comparison checklist is only part of the equation. Select a service provider who understands your IT innovation agenda and business goals while evaluating applications, users, and locations to design the perfect network solution for you. Stay focused on your mission: striking the optimal balance between price, performance, and resiliency to ensure your applications deliver the right experience for your users.

Read the IDG Market Pulse survey report to learn more about approaches for SD-WAN implementation, SD-WAN adoption, WAN goals for IT executives, and checklists for evaluating SD-WAN vendors.

Jody Gilliam

With 15+ years of experience developing content-focused marketing strategies for technology companies, Jody crafts thought leadership articles and develops research ideas to support Masergy’s marketing initiatives. Her background in journalism serves her well, as she works closely with industry analysts and Masergy’s top leaders to publish engaging content. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and communications from Southwestern University and her master’s degree in digital marketing from the University of Denver.

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