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SD-WAN Is Useless Unless You Monitor It

SD-WAN brings the promise of greater resiliency and lower costs, but as with any new network technology it can leave NetOps teams in the dark as the company revises its strategy to monitor and manage the new networks.

While most SD-WAN vendors offer some form of monitoring with their services, John Smith, executive vice president and CTO at monitoring company LiveAction, said these often create more problems for enterprises. He noted that often these tools don’t hook into an enterprise’s day-to-day operations or provide the required visibility — often leaving SD-WAN devices as the least visible part of the network.

Adam Edwards, chief customer officer at AppNeta, put it this way: “SD-WAN vendors may include some simple bandwidth reporting. Don’t assume this replaces a comprehensive monitoring and diagnostics platform.” He added that integrated, active monitoring should be extended across the SD-WAN links to provide visibility.

Other monitoring challenges are that SD-WANs create virtual networks using a number of tunnels, which can restrict IT’s visibility into the networks; there is an increase in telemetry data that older monitoring tools are not equipped to handle; there are limited standards associated with exposing SD-WAN performance data; and enterprises have to deal with an overlay between different service providers if a company is using different providers at each remote site.