The different ways SD-WAN can save you money

SD-WAN savings aren't magic – they don't materialize out of nowhere, and they require due diligence during vendor selection as well as solution implementation. How much an organization will ultimately save by upgrading to SD-WAN will depend on which provider it partners with and how the new system affects its existing workflows, IT infrastructure investments and personnel.

Not all SD-WANs are created equal

Gartner Peer Insights, a site compiling vendor reviews from actual customers, sheds some light on what really determines SD-WAN success. Talari Networks had an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars at the time of this writing, with reviewers focusing on benefits such as:

  • Ease of implementation.
  • Vendor-provided customer service
  • WAN bandwidth aggregation
  • Instant mitigation of WAN connection issues
  • Flexible configurations
  • Peace of mind regarding uptime

What's perhaps most notable about this list is what's not on it, namely the substantial cost cutting possible by using commodity internet connectivity and other modes of network transport to augment or replace traditional MPLS circuits. That hardly means that such savings cannot be realized through an SD-WAN installation, only that those reductions might take a back seat to other realized benefits that end users and admins will notice more on a daily basis.

Some of the entries on the above list all qualify as enablers of "soft" savings, as opposed to the "hard" savings of simply ditching MPLS for cheaper alternatives, while others are competitive differentiators highlighting the importance of carefully evaluating each option. For example, if an SD-WAN solution is relatively easy to implement, that won't show up immediately as a reduced expense like discontinuing an expensive MPLS plan might, but it will translate into quicker, more reliable improvement in site uptime and employee productivity.

Eventually, those changes will pay dividends of their own. One IT director and reviewer at Peer Insights cited how, prior to implementation of the Talari SD-WAN, at least one of their branches "would close almost daily" because of network service loss. In this case, the central benefit of switching to SD-WAN was not cost savings per se, but a major improvement in branch connectivity that eliminated a key technical – and by extension, financial – issue for the organization.

How soft and hard savings overlap

By selecting the best available SD-WAN platform, the soft savings of higher availability, easier management and greater scalability can go hand in hand with the hard savings of less expensive – but still reliable, i.e. MPLS-class – connectivity. A 9-1-1 provider in Texas showed the possibilities with its upgrade to an SD-WAN solution.

Before, the company was spending $20,000 per month on copper T1 lines at only 1.5 Mbps. By switching to SD-WAN, it cut these WAN costs by 90 percent while gaining access to higher-bandwidth service and a new public safety-dedicated microwave network. The organization cited both the hard savings and the superior performance as core benefits of the implementation.

SD-WAN can save you money – not only on MPLS spend reductions, but also thanks to the reliability a failsafe SD-WAN solution delivers for your WAN as well. To learn more, request a demo.

Categories: Cost Savings

Tags: , ,