What To Consider When Buying SD-WAN

According to market research and industry experts alike, now is the time to deploy an SD-WAN solution. This technology comes with numerous benefits that enterprises in nearly every sector are looking to reap, including better use of available bandwidth, lower overall costs, higher performance applications and improved visibility into network activities.

However, as WAN optimization takes a step back for software-defined solutions, there has also been rising competition in the marketplace. Network Computing reported that not only is the SD-WAN market poised to reach a value of around $7.5 billion by 2020, but nearly half of all North American businesses are planning to increase spending on this technology over the next two years.

“45 percent of North American businesses are planning to increase spending on SD-WAN solutions over the next two years.” (Network Computing)

Currently, there are more than a few choices when it comes to SD-WAN providers. Enterprise leaders and decision-makers must ensure that the system they choose has the essentials their organization needs, and can offer the specific advantages they’re looking for. So what should executives consider when examining potential SD-WAN solutions?

Let’s take a look at the top considerations to make when purchasing SD-WAN technology:

1) Application reliability

Often, businesses seek out SD-WAN solutions in order to improve the performance of critical, real-time applications like VoIP, video conferencing or other essential platforms. In this way, it’s important to ensure that the technology chosen can deliver the predictable application reliability the company is looking for.

A Talari white paper, “Eight Questions You Must Ask When Considering An SD-WAN,” noted that SD-WAN solutions should provide a seamless response to emerging network issues and should ensure that user sessions remain uninterrupted, even in the event of a link outage.

“If businesses are going to move successfully from purely MPLS private WANs to SD-WANs, then delivering the reliability and predictability of application performance that expensive, over-engineered single-vendor networks like MPLS offer is essential,” the white paper stated.

Decision-makers should determine if their users are currently experiencing any application issues that are being caused by the WAN, including unreliable VoIP and bandwidth constraints. Problems like these can be solved with SD-WAN solutions that offer robust packet-based path steering and loss mitigation.

When making this consideration, it’s also important to examine the types of applications the company uses. For instance, cloud applications – where data packets are routed through a data center – will be treated differently than applications accessed on-premises.

An SD-WAN can help boost the performance and reliability of critical applications.

An SD-WAN can help boost the performance and reliability of critical applications.

2) Multi-link support

It’s also critical that the SD-WAN solution can support a number of active links, and that these can be used as needed for bandwidth resources or failover. A robust solution should be able to utilize any and all available links, including MPLS or Internet. It should also support all traffic types, even if one link experiences a failure.

3) Branch offices

An ideal SD-WAN solution will provide consistent, top-tier application performance not only at the company’s headquarters, but at all of its branch locations as well. This is particularly important when the organization has a number of geographically dispersed offices.

“Enterprises today need to support both workers and customer-facing services in distributed locations such as a new retail site, sales offices, or call centers,” No Jitter stated.

4) Network visibility

One of the biggest potential benefits of SD-WAN technology is the ability to gain a granular view of all activities taking place on the network, particularly at the individual data-packet level. A true SD-WAN system will enable the IT team to see the root cause of network issues when they emerge, including jitter, latency and packet loss.

An industry-leading solution will also ensure that the network can proactively respond to these and other challenges, rerouting packets so that they take the path with the highest availability. In this way, not only can IT admins see exactly what’s going on within their company’s infrastructure, but the network itself can also respond intelligently to current conditions.

5) Cloud resources

The best SD-WAN solutions help support the performance and visibility of the critical cloud resources the business uses as well.

“Cloud applications reside in multiple locations outside private enterprise data centers,” No Jitter pointed out. “Therefore, enterprises need a cloud-based architecture that’s dynamic and can support access to multiple, rapidly changing locations while delivering required flexibility and agility.”

Needless to say, this capability is unique, and can help separate the most ideal solutions from the pack. An SD-WAN solution that extends the boundaries of the corporate WAN into the cloud, offering more control and visibility for the IT team is considerably beneficial.

Talari’s Software Defined THINKING WAN solution not only hits all the marks here, but our advanced WAN Cloud solution improves overall reliability, security, flexibility and priority when it comes to cloud resources. Now, IT teams can gain the granular visibility they require within an agile, robust network that extends into the cloud.

To find out more, request a custom demo today.

Categories: Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN), Application Performance/Application Quality, IT Challenges, WAN to Cloud, Network Reliability, Business Agility