Choosing an SD-WAN Vendor
If your company is looking to Software-Defined WAN to support enterprise connectivity, you need to search for a vendor who offers the following base components in its solution:
- Leveraging various modes of connectivity (i.e. Broadband)
- Dynamic path selection
- Zero-touch, centralized provisioning system
- Quick ROI through reduced CAPEX and OPEX
The solution you choose should allow you to build a better WAN easily, efficiently and quickly, and the vendor should offer integrated support, providing your IT team the flexibility to focus on tasks other than constantly monitoring your WAN.
SD-WAN should also:
- Lower costs
- Increase agility to meet today’s more demanding connectivity
- Keep up with and take advantage of Broadband innovations
- Make a geographically-dispersed team more connected
- Increase usability and visibility into Cloud applications
- Increase network security
To ensure that your solution delivers in all of these areas, you must shop around because not all SD-WANs are created equal.
It’s important to consider aspects like non-disruptive deployment and cost, but you have to take considerations a step further if you want to build a WAN that will meet your connection demands of today and tomorrow.
When researching vendors, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can the solution provide predictable application performance and QoS?
- Does the solution allow your IT to see and control all apps and data across the WAN?
- Does the solution make network security a priority through segmentation and encryption?
- Will you be able to service chain other services and route across the WAN?
- How will the solution unify your Enterprise WAN with cloud computing?
- What will the adoption of the specific solution mean for your current infrastructure?
- Traffic, end users, employees, data, etc.
We’ve found that for most of our clients, the research phase is, and should be, the longest in the SD-WAN buying process. When making such a large investment, you must know exactly what you are getting for your money and prepare for unforeseen future costs.
Speak to company representatives, request demos and visit online discussion boards to find out what other IT departments are saying about each solution’s real-life application. Don’t simply trust performance and pricing specs listed on the vendor’s website.
After you have done the research and decided on a solution, next steps are usually to reach out to a sales rep, schedule a demo, deploy, run and analyze tests and implement.
If you have chosen a comprehensive solution from a reliable, transparent vendor, these steps should be seamless and there shouldn’t be any big surprises. But, do yourself a favor and be prepared for anything.