If your organization is considering managed SD-WAN services over the do-it-yourself devices (which require self-deployment, configuration, and management) here are five things to consider when evaluating partners.
What you’ll learn
Most SD-WAN devices themselves are not innately built to be secure. Ask these questions before you buy:
While some providers will have IPSec tunneling and may even have next-gen firewalls built into their SD-WAN offering, others will go even further by:
A major catalyst behind SD-WAN adoption is to efficiently use any combination of public and private network connectivity to lower WAN connectivity costs and maximize WAN usage. These key capabilities enable cost-efficient connectivity bandwidth utilization.
Transport-Agnostic Service: SD-WAN services should be transport/access agnostic, allowing customers to design any combination of public and private network connectivity.
Active-Active Links: Being able to combine all your bandwidth is arguably the biggest selling point of SD-WAN. This is called an active-active or dual-active configuration. Instead of using a public broadband internet or a wireless link in a passive mode as a backup for a private link, an SD-WAN solution should let enterprises use both services in an active-active mode.
A managed SD-WAN service provider should be able to support WAN services globally. Service level agreements (SLAs) help expose the differences in these services. Key considerations include:
The ability to prioritize traffic (voice and video over IP, for example) over both public and private links and the ability to ensure quality-of-service across applications are essential. Dynamic traffic engineering and application-aware routing are key features and benefits. These enable the service to choose the optimal network path for bandwidth and quality of service based on particular application requirements.
Two other valuable features that enable intelligent, on-demand application-based routing are advanced error correction and dynamic application steering (DAP). These help overcome the adverse effects of dropped and out-of-order packets on internet links and ensure uninterrupted service to end-users.
It’s important to ask a few questions of the provider to understand what “managed service” entails.
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