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Getting to the WAN You Need

Published on: October 1, 2019

Author: John Burke, CIO and Principal Research Analyst

SD-WAN is reshaping wide area networking by radically improving visibility and control via simplifying WAN management while improving WAN reliability, performance, and economics. It combines the use of multiple active branch links, intelligent direction of traffic across those links, and centralized, policy-driven management of the WAN as a whole. The ability to leverage multiple lower-cost services (including Internet and 4G wireless) as well as WAN stalwarts MPLS and Carrier Ethernet transforms IT’s relationship to the WAN and the WAN’s relationship to the business.

The message is clear: now is the time to take a close look at your company strategy, the IT strategies meant to help drive the company forward, and at budgets and the WAN architecture. Does your organization need more reliable WAN services? More agile ones? Does it need higher bandwidth, lower rates, increased visibility, greater control, more reliability, reduced operating costs? SD-WAN may be the best way to power the changes needed.

IT now must build a compelling business case for making the transition, or risk wasting more staff time and company money on the status quo. The base of the case must be cost: SD-WAN can stop the ballooning growth in WAN costs typical in an MPLS-based enterprise WAN by harnessing Internet connectivity and cutting WAN service bills while delivering substantial improvements in performance and availability. It can also dramatically reduce the amount of staff time required to manage the WAN; particularly the time needed to bring a new site or service online. It can reduce both branch outages and application performance problems. It can position the network as a strategic enabler of transformative efforts and IT as a key strategic contributor.

IT should model the cost of growing with the current architecture to meet future needs and compare that against do-it-yourself and managed SD-WAN options. Then, pursue the course that makes the most sense. If the best choice is SD-WAN, look for solutions and providers that can help with planning and executing the transition

Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Enterprises are Transforming Themselves…Can the WAN Keep Up?
    • Need for Fast Transformation, Meet Network That’s Slow to Change
  • SD-WAN is Reshaping Wide Area Networking
    • A Better WAN: Resilience, Reliability, Security, Intelligence
      • Virtual from Bottom to Top
      • A Higher-Level Perspective: Applications, SLAs, Performance Enhancements
      • Economics and the SD-WAN: More is Better, and Now Cheaper
    • The Message is Clear: Evaluate SD-WAN
    • Build an SD-WAN Business Case
      • Hard Dollar Savings for the Future
      • Operational Savings: Freeing IT Resources for Strategic Work
      • The Business Value of Doing Business: Agile Branching, Reliable Services
    • Too Much of a Good Thing: Watch Out for Vendor Sprawl
  • Conclusion

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