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Imagine calling a business and being put on hold. In the background, the broadband connection drops off, causing a failover to the wireless modem. Surprisingly, the call hangs on. Even more surprising, the hold music carries on unwaveringly without a single audible change. That’s one everyday example of how an SD-WAN architecture offers failproof reliability, according to DQE Sales Engineer Jason Basham.
“SD-WAN intelligently monitors traffic health and reroutes traffic based on ever-evolving conditions like saturation or latency or jitter, as well as general circuit failures,” says Basham, one of the hosts of the recent “SD-WAN for Your Business” webinar hosted by DQE and IT services and solutions company Fujitsu.
During the 40-minute webinar (which you can watch here), Basham and DQE IP Architect Steve Puluka covered the most pressing questions about SD-WAN, including practical next steps for getting your SD-WAN architecture up and running.
“SD-WAN adoption is gaining interest because of its ability to overcome security, reliability and performance challenges,” says Basham.” [It uses] public internet connections for business applications while dramatically lowering WAN networking costs.”
As companies anticipate a need to increase bandwidth across network locations to satisfy additional network traffic, many mid-size and large corporations are looking to SD-WAN as a solution that will connect their business operations across multiple sites, cloud services or offsite data centers to increase operational efficiency and intelligently steer traffic to the right location.
“SD-WAN offers businesses a unique advantage in directly connecting users to any application whether it’s hosted in an on-premise data center or even in public or private cloud scenarios,” says Basham. “By separating a network’s hardware from the decision about traffic management, SD-WAN can provide businesses with a cost effective and secure way to improve individual applications and performance.”
But up until recently, the parameters around what an SD-WAN architecture should be weren’t well defined. In mid-2019, the MEF, an association for network and cloud providers, provided the first real parameters of what an SD-WAN should be in a 95-page document detailing definitions, service attributes, service components and use cases.
“We can expect companies to evolve to that standard and help improve that standard as time goes on,” Basham says.
Now with a standard to aim for, businesses can set up their own SD-WAN configuration in one of two ways: through a DIY or managed solution. In a poll posed to attendees of the Jan. 20 webinar, 100 percent of participants reported that they were currently determining whether to implement a DIY or managed SD-WAN service in the coming year.
So, what’s the difference? A do-it-yourself SD-WAN structure is very similar to a traditional WAN. Your business buys the hardware, licenses the software, creates a transition plan and performs all upgrades and staff training in house, according to Puluka. A managed solution on the other hand outsources all of those tasks to a provider like DQE who offers general network support and performs upgrades and system patches. The major benefit, Puluka says, is that it can be implemented in a “pay as you grow” structure, allowing a network that grows with your company.
“From an efficiency perspective, moving to a managed service is also beneficial as it makes it even faster to add new services, add new cloud instances to create a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy, and even take advantage of converged cloud and premise-based security strategies,” says Puluka.
The managed service is a chosen solution across many verticals, from car dealerships to financial institutions to medical offices.
“What’s been notable over last six months in surveying around SD-WAN is it’s now reached a tipping point in the management of IT services, where over 50 percent of the market is now preferring to have a managed service versus an in-house do-it-yourself,” says Puluka.
Deployment of the network is set up as a two-phased approach. First, DQE helps determine the network’s components and size to build a full model of the SD-WAN and determines how it can be integrated into a business’s network. The nitty gritty details come next, including defining IP addresses, routing protocols and step-by-step installation instructions, which will be handled by Fujitsu field techs.
Once it’s up and running, DQE will provide round-the-clock monitoring and troubleshooting services. System patches and upgrades are promised as soon as possible, with next business day replacements for any failing parts.
“So it’s really a turnkey operation,” says Puluka.
For those looking to make the business case for SD-WAN, particularly to any business decision makers who are less technologically inclined, Basham offers a helpful way to think about an SD-WAN architecture: like a modern car that employs automatic braking and multiple driving modes, such as snow mode or off-road mode.
“Somebody coined the term using SD-WAN as self-driving wide area network … it just makes sense,” says Basham. “Let the network make decisions for you so you can put out other fires.”Tags: Managed SD-WAN, SD-WAN, SD-WAN benefits, SD-WAN Configuration, SD-WAN Webinar, wide area network