SD-WAN in the clouds:Which approach is right for your clients? Posted on February 6, 2019 by Adam Burke Do you have clients with more than one location? Are you hearing complaints from them about uneven application performance, network management hassles, and an uptick in cyberthreats? Chances are these clients need to upgrade their traditional wide-area network (WAN) and dedicated multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) circuits. After all, as your clients’ end-users increasingly embrace internet-based cloud services, their traditional WANs can’t cope with the resulting bandwidth demands. Application performance suffers and their operations are exposed to cyberthreats and compliance issues while the complexity of managing it all overwhelms their IT staffs. Enter SD-WAN The solution? A new, cloud-first approach to remote-site network connectivity — software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) — that can reduce your clients’ operational costs and improve their resource usage by more efficiently deploying bandwidth. With SD-WAN, your clients can… Improve application performance for users everywhere across multiple clouds; Boost security by enforcing real-time threat prevention at remote sites so data need not travel back to a data center or to cloud providers for advanced security protections; Cloud-enable all locations by seamlessly extending the WAN to multiple public clouds and SaaS applications; and Simplify management, making it easy to scale across thousands of branches, campuses, or cloud endpoints. Which way to SD-WAN? SD-WAN capabilities can be deployed in several ways — as an appliance, with software licenses, via SD-WAN as a service, and as a managed service. If your clients don’t have the necessary in-house expertise to deploy and operate SD-WAN appliances or software, they’ll need some sort of cloud-based SD-WAN service, which should include MEF’s seven fundamental SD-WAN managed services capabilities: 1. Secure, IP-based virtual overlay network; 2. Transport-independence of underlay network; 3. Service assurance of each SD-WAN tunnel; 4. Application-driven packet forwarding; 5. High availability through multiple WAN links; 6. Policy-based packet forwarding; and 7. Service automation via centralized management, control, and orchestration. SD-WAN service options SD-WAN services come in two varieties — SD-WAN as a service and SD-WAN managed services: SD-WAN as a service SD-WAN managed service How the service is hosted: Service provider typically offers the SD-WAN service on its own private cloud network How the service is hosted: Service provider typically partners with an SD-WAN vendor to add SD-WAN services to its cloud portfolio SD-WAN monitoring and management: Client’s responsibility, usually via the service provider’s cloud-based management portal SD-WAN monitoring and management: Responsibility of your client’s SD-WAN managed service provider WAN communications services: Contracted (with a communications service provider) by your client WAN communications services: Contracted (with a communications service provider) by your client’s SD-WAN managed service provider Pricing: Generally based on the features and functionality your client selects Typically available as a monthly subscription Pricing: Generally based on customer sites, locations, link speeds, and SLA requirements Typically available via one-year or multi-year service contracts Benefits: Easy upgradability Latest functionality Benefits: Performance levels assured via customized SLA Monitoring, management, and security handled by experts A conversation with your trusted technology advisor will help you decide which approach is best for which of your clients — SD-WAN as a service, an SD-WAN managed service, or possibly some customized hybrid of the two.