SD-WAN an Australian perspective

SD-WAN is not easy. There, I said it.

Vendors would have us believe that implementation of SD-WAN is ‘simple’ and ‘easy’. That may hold true for greenfield businesses with a handful of sites but in the real world, organisations that stand to benefit the most from SD-WAN tend to be multi-site, have data centre requirements, consume Cloud services and run a plethora of business applications over their traditional Wide Area Network. For these customers, SD-WAN is NOT easy.

There is no SD-WAN standard, each vendor – and there are many – implements their SD-WAN product differently with unique features, functionality, approach and value proposition. The devil is in the detail and the ‘under the hood’ nuances of each vendor is mind-bogglingly complex even for the seasoned network engineers among us.

In my view, SD-WAN’s global audience is targeted towards nations where an Internet-Internet SD-WAN solution makes sense, connecting two diverse Service Provider’s internet services into an SD-WAN appliance and allowing the SD-WAN solution to choose the internet path with the lowest latency, packet loss and jitter to the destination resource.

Whilst this may work effectively in places like the USA, here in Australia, the drive for an assured network with guaranteed packet delivery and Quality of Service to support critical Business Applications sees many organisations adopt an augmented approach with MPLS-Internet services in their SD-WAN.

Most multi-site Domestic Australian businesses we consult with utilise a range of WAN connectivity technologies including MPLS, Layer 2 and Internet services and have complex existing route-based networks with each underlay technology providing unique characteristics and value, and each playing a part in a properly considered SD-WAN architecture.

I find that without a deep understanding of your existing network, the considered impact of an SD-WAN solution into a network and the co-existence of legacy and SD-WAN offices, the true benefit of SD-WAN remains unrealised or worse yet, a failed migration to SD-WAN.

Here at Ericom, we understand the complexities and challenges of implementing small, medium and large-scale SD-WAN solutions and believe taking the time to properly consult with your business, understand the existing network, and consider the impact of migration through our bespoke High Level and Low Level Designs.

We find this approach ultimately aides the successful implementation of SD-WAN whilst delivering a true return on investment. At face-value, an SD-WAN solution may look easy but experience tells us that it’s not.

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