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3 Common Challenges of an SD-WAN Deployment

SD-WAN has emerged as a game changer for distributed networks to address the demands of digital transformation happening across many organizations today. As we help our customers with their SD-WAN deployments, we often find common challenges that occur. For instance, deployments typically start with a proof of concept, followed by the actual deployment, which is broken out into day 0, 1, and 2 phases. The steps are similar across customers but differ in terms of vendor, architecture, and SD-WAN technologies used.

SD-WAN Deployment Challenges

The challenges we primarily see during deployment are in the areas of: Assurance, navigating multi-vendor devices, and Network Monitoring capabilities. Factors that create these challenges include complexity, scale, application diversity, automation, brownfield, and tool limitations. The following sections will walk you through the three most common SD-WAN challenges and how you can overcome them.

1. Application Assurance

SD-WAN makes automated real-time decisions based on performance and other criteria to ensure application performance over various network transports. Network operators understand the policy that they set up, but they want assurance on what the system is doing, what actions were taken, and for what underlying reasons. We’ve seen cases where application problems have been blamed on the SD-WAN just because it’s the least understood portion of the network once deployed.

SD-WAN Deployment Challenges

As we automate systems, the operators are becoming detached from the operations and need better tools to understand, help troubleshoot, and adjust policy. Having visualizations that map to the operator’s thinking will assure that the system is operating and behaving as expected. The example below shows the behavior of SD-WAN visually, as it switches paths due to transport issues and allows the operator to validate expected behavior in their operational networks.

2. Multi-Vendor Devices

Once the SD-WAN is deployed, you get a single uniform view of the SD-WAN network from the vendor’s management UI. The problems arise when issues need to be analyzed between other vendor devices that interface with the SD-WAN devices. Depending on the complexity of the networks and SD-WAN vendor capabilities, this can be minimized or can become a larger challenge. Ideally, the tool used for network analysis spans across multi-vendor devices to give a complete picture and reduce troubleshooting time.

3. Networking Monitoring

Every networking vendor, including SD-WAN vendors, instrument their devices for network monitoring differently. Even with standards such as SNMP and IPFIX, there isn’t a consistent set of data and how it is gathered and represented, which makes analysis and correlation challenging. To provide an analytics platform using NetFlow and IPFIX, requires a robust distributed collection architecture designed for real-time and historical analysis with a visualization layer optimized for exploratory and explanatory analysis

How LiveNX Can Help

LiveNX provides a platform to gather network analytics data at scale. Key capabilities include a NetFlow analyze, packet analyzer and network performance dashboards. LiveNX helps IT teams understand how the system behaves, why issues occurred and how it was resolved. LiveAction and Cisco are partnered to deliver full visibility and insights into Cisco SD-WAN and across your entire network. LiveNX helps with Cisco SD-WAN by providing in-depth monitoring and visual analytics of your SD-WAN to overcome these challenges. Learn more about LiveNX network monitoring software and see how you can start tackling SD-WAN challenges. Want to get in the driver’s seat and try LiveNX for yourself? Try our free download of LiveNX.