Don’t rush SD-WAN deployment, consider all the details
Heads of IT or global network infrastructure teams may have decided on their required business outcomes and the phases of SD-WAN implementation, but find the granular details challenging or the programme costs very hard to control, writes Marc Sollars, the chief technology officer at Teneo.
So, what’s the best way for the enterprise IT team to cover all bases during their preparations and take their SD-WAN deployment safely across the finishing line?
Applying a methodology called CAPS – cost, agility, performance & security – ensures that businesses identify business outcomes and assess suppliers thoroughly enough, making SD-WAN deployment more manageable. Taking the individual elements of CAPS, we find:
An expert SD-WAN integrator will consider the customer’s motivation for cost-saving and its implications for the desired technology solution. Is the business looking to ‘salami-slice’ their legacy WAN costs or make incremental gains on supplier bandwidth KPIs? Is SD-WAN a lifecycle event, creating an opportunity to ensure manageable monthly costs by using managed services or as-a-Service models? Or is the board seeking centralised control to drive a global upscale?
An experienced external IT partner will also work with the CIO and networking team to understand the organisation’s appetite for risk, M&A impacts and attitude to site turn-up and tear-down. These integrators will probe the in-house IT team’s policies on cloud (IaaS or SaaS), network segmentation, zero-touch provisioning and system analytics. Crucially too, SD-WAN experts outside the business grasp the budget and resource constraints for enterprises that operate across multiple locations and time zones as well as the implications of an in-house networking team’s structure and their desired level of control of SD-WAN technologies or the final delivery model.
Expert partners will risk-manage complex programmes, identifying the customer’s requirements from critical apps, IaaS and SaaS, WAN optimisation, VoIP quality, application performance infrastructure, application-aware routing and user experience. They help CIOs decide if they want complete transformation or less ambitious (but often no less complex) options such as hybrids of existing MPLS networks.
Expert technology partners can also assess the likely impact of traffic policies, network function virtualisation (NFV), network segmentation and virtual routing. They can point out the potential constraints from industry-specific compliance demands, encryption levels and suggest a suitable balance between direct iInternet access and local breakout needs.
Allied to these smart assessment methodologies, expert integrators also provide a crucial but often-underplayed part of SD-WAN deployments – planning the migration to new networks end-to-end to get the job over the line.