Busted: 4 Major Myths About SD-WAN

When evaluating SD-WAN solutions, many enterprise IT buyers feel overwhelmed and even confused by the marketing terminology of the space. Vague and unhelpful terms like "application quality" exist alongside more specific, meaningful ones such as "failsafe SD-WAN" and "MPLS-class availability."

This mixed lingo also contributes to a number SD-WAN technology myths. The most common myths involve interactions with MPLS vs. internet connectivity.  Other myths surround SD-WAN security and WAN performance characteristics as well.

To clear things up, let's bust four big SD-WAN myths right now. Here are the critical facts to help you make an informed decision on SD-WAN implementation.

Myth #1: Choosing SD-WAN always means ripping and replacing MPLS

MPLS and SD-WAN are often pitted against other. It's a false dichotomy – in fact, SD-WAN technology can be used to augment MPLS in a hybrid WAN architecture.

The MPLS market is still huge, despite its expense and its limitation for accessing cloud applications. Based on various forecast sources (e.g. IDC, Grand View Research, Research and Markets, etc.), in 2018 the global MPLS revenue is slated to exceed $15 Billion. Telecom operators keep MPLS prices high as the service gives enterprises predictable and reliable private network connectivity. While it's costly and infeasible for meeting enterprise needs for multi-cloud access, MPLS functions seamlessly within an SD-WAN architecture alongside internet links, especially between headquarters and larger remote offices.

Even those enterprises that intend to eventually eliminate their MPLS WANs usually begin SD-WAN deployment with a hybrid architecture, avoiding the need for a "rip and replace" forklift upgrade, preferring instead to eliminate MPLS after 12-18 months, perhaps when their MPLS contract expires, or when sufficient network reliability has been proven with the deployment of failsafe SD-WAN technology.

Myth #2: SD-WAN always means a hybrid WAN

This is the flipside of the myth above. While hybrid MPLS-plus-Internet WANs are common, they are not the only approach to deploying an enterprise SD-WAN.

What is true is that failsafe SD-WAN technology is required in order to deliver MPLS-class availability and predictable performance over a multi-link SD-WAN consisting entirely of "everyday" Internet links. With failsafe SD-WAN technology providing data security and high QoE, it's OK to leave MPLS behind or not invest in this costly service at all.

Myth #3: Every SD-WAN is basically the same

Investing in an SD-WAN solution is not like purchasing a mattress or any similarly commoditized product where little differentiation exists between major network options. Many providers include greater reliability, easier cloud access and other application performance boosting capabilities within their solutions, so it pays to dive into the details.

For example, Talari Cloud Connect shows how SD-WAN platforms continues to become more specialized. With Cloud Connect, enterprises will be able to set up bidirectional Quality of Service for inbound and outbound cloud flows, implement premium inside-the-house access to SaaS providers and take advantage of failsafe multi-link connectivity to key services such as UCaaS.

Myth #4: SD-WAN duplicates the functionality of WAN Optimization

WAN Optimization helps reduce WAN bandwidth consumption through deduplication, caching and compression. In one dimension, it's comparable to SD-WAN in terms of improving network capacity and application performance.

That said, WAN Opt offers far less value than failsafe SD-WAN technology does in the age of the cloud. It's primarily for TCP-based applications, whereas SD-WAN applies to both TCP and real-time flows. In other words, while WAN Opt perhaps frees up bandwidth for latency-sensitive apps like VoIP, SD-WAN directly prioritizes real-time traffic through continuous measurement, sub-second dynamic path selection, and optional packet replication. Users benefit with noticeably fewer network and application interruptions or poor network performance including partial network "brown-out" occurrences.

Ready to learn more about failsafe SD-WAN technology? Request a demo today or check out the free eBook below.

Categories: Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN)

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