SD-WAN and the Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is driving change in many ways, leading enterprises to deploy new applications, expand into multi-cloud architecture, and adopt new network infrastructure. The network can be a competitive differentiator for these digital initiatives.

But why SD-WAN? According to IDC, enterprises are expected to continue to spend big on the technology forecasting that the market would reach $5.25 billion in 2023. Enterprises around the world are adopting SD-WAN due to its cost-saving benefits and superiority to traditional WAN technologies that lacks the ability to connect to remote branches and offices to their data centers and cloud-based applications.

Why SD-WAN is Key for Digital Success

SD-WAN offers enterprises enhanced network flexibility and performance functionality and services. Putting it simply, as the network grows, especially the expansive the number of connected devices, increases in branch locations, SD-WAN can be the ideal solution to help organizations achieve their digital transformation objectives. Any new technology should be properly assessed, there are many benefits to SD-WAN and how it supports digitizing your business. Ease of scalability (SD-WANs are flexible, its designs help them adapt to the new demands to offer solutions), simplifying and centralizing WAN infrastructure, added security, and lowered cost to operate.

However, nothing is perfect, and there are a few common complaints and challenges of the technology. An essential part of monitoring the network… is well monitoring the network. According to a recent survey conducted by Enterprise Management Associates found that 91% of enterprises also monitor or plan to monitor their SD-WAN environments with a supplemental network monitoring tool. Considering that tool sprawl remains a top complaint from NetOps teams, adding an additional tool for better visibility into such a critical technology is a concern – one that should be properly vetted when adopting SD-WAN. Although SD-WAN security is an added benefit, there is a flipside where cybersecurity is an additional security risk. However, any technology that manages and monitors large, complex amounts of data, is a challenge to keeping the network secure.

Regardless of the challenges and complexity that will be added to the network, there is a strong case for leveraging SD-WAN to support your digital initiatives.

Setting Up Your Enterprise for Success with SD-WAN

Adopting a new technology or preparing the network for a new application rollout is something that should not be done without a detailed plan in place. If your enterprise has already begun to utilize Cloud technology or is looking to simplify legacy WAN, then it may be time for an assessment. Before selecting an SD-WAN vendor, network managers should verify that their NPM platform has adequate visibility into the SD-WAN solution. Here is a quick guideline of the base steps that must be taken before, during, and after when adopting SD-WAN.

Pre-Migration

An NPM platform can measure capacity requirements of the existing WAN. This includes a comprehensive analysis of site-to-site, site-to-data center, and site-to-cloud bandwidth consumption. At this stage, network operations teams should also identify critical applications traversing the WAN, measure their current performance, and baseline user experience expectations.

Deployment

person working on computerThe NetOps team should verify that the new SD-WAN solution will provide sufficient hybrid WAN capacity across the network. In most cases, enterprises will transition from an all-MPLS network to a hybrid network of MPLS and internet connectivity. The team should verify that total bandwidth on this new network will meet the capacity requirements across all network paths. At this time, the team should also verify that applications are receiving appropriate quality of service priority.

Post-Migration

Once the SD-WAN solution has been implemented, network managers must monitor the health and performance of hybrid connectivity and verify that the path-steering features of SD-WAN are sending traffic over the best available link. Poorly configured path-steering features will degrade user experience. Use this visibility to optimize SD-WAN configuration.

Finding the Right NPM Solution

IT organizations are adopting disruptive technologies to support digital transformation. If your enterprise hasn’t taken the steps to evolving to a digital business model, you’ll shortly be left in the dust by your competition. With an effective NPM solution, network operations teams can provide guidance for planning, implementing, and validating a change to digital services. This platform will also support ongoing optimization and management of digital infrastructure.

If your NetOps team is struggling with visibility into SD-WAN or need guidance on driving a transformation, contact our expert networking team on how our suite of solutions that will be crucial to a digital transformation.