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Still Cheaper, Faster, Better: The Business Case for SD-WAN in 2019

Author: John Burke, CIO & Principal Research Analyst

SD-WAN is a potential game-changer for wide area networking—on the same level as server virtualization has been for the data center. SD-WAN 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 holds the promise of transforming IT’s relationship to the WAN and the WAN’s relationship to the business.

Transformational potential is not enough. IT has to build a compelling business case for making the transition. The base of the case must be cost. Nemertes has developed and validated an SD-WAN cost model that enables enterprise users to build that business case: SD-WAN deployments can cut millions from large WAN service bills.

But, reducing connectivity costs is not the only avenue by which SD-WAN can drive savings. It provides for centralized, holistic management of the WAN, which reduces the amount of staff time required to provide the service. And, because it can provide transparent, automatic failover when WAN links fail, it can reduce both branch outages and WAN troubleshooting costs.

For IT and networking professionals who have not already committed to deploying SDWAN, the message is clear: now is the time to take a close look at your IT strategies, budgets, and WAN architecture and assess the need for higher bandwidth, lower rates, increased reliability, or all three. Model the cost of growing with the current architecture and compare that against at least two SD-WAN solutions. If the SD-WAN numbers show significant potential savings over time, build a business case based on them, as well as other operational savings and any business value assigned by the business lines to faster branch turn-up.


Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • You Can Have It All
  • What is SD-WAN?
    • Types of SD-WAN
      • Overlay SD-WAN
      • In-Net SD-WAN
  • The Nemertes SD-WAN Migration and Cost Model
    • Cost Component: Connectivity
    • Cost Component: Capital Equipment
    • Cost Component: Troubleshooting and Problem Resolution
  • Customizing the Model: Making It Work for You
    • Size and Conversion Percentage
    • Carrier Service Options
    • Capital Equipment Shifts and Stack Consolidation
    • SD-WAN Solution Type
    • Site Types
  • Model Outputs
    • SD-WAN vs Classical WAN
    • Overlay vs In-Net SD-WAN Savings
  • SD-WAN Use Cases
    • Use Case 1: Resilience and Growth with Hybrid SD-WAN
      • More Bandwidth
      • More Resilience
      • Easier Branch Activation for Business Agility
    • Use Case 2: Hybrid Infrastructure and Cloud Optimization
      • Improving Uptime and Accountability
    • Use Case 3: Better Security and Lower Operating Costs
  • Conclusion and Recommendations


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