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SD-WANs Part 3: Do You Really Need SD-WAN (And If So, Which One)?

Welcome to the third part of our spotlight on SD-WAN series, the one that for many of you will be the most important to read if you’re thinking of implementing a Software Defined Wide Area Network.

In Part 1 of our series, SD-WANs Part 1: History, Changing Network Needs, and Advanced Business Solutions, we covered the basics of what an SD-WAN is, and traditional implementations. Part 2, SD-WANs Part 2: Modern SD WAN Configurations, was a look at how businesses are implementing modern forms of SD-WANs and why.

Today we’ll pose a few questions to see whether an SD-WAN is right for your business and if so, which configuration you might need, as well as offer other networking solutions that could be a better option.

If you are a single-site business, how important is network quality assurance?

Network quality assurance is something that many business customers have concerns about. However, many ISPs, such as Telstra and TPG offer enterprise plans via a fibre connection with high guaranteed uptimes, and assured upload/download minimum speeds. If they break these promises, you get bill discounts, refunds, etc.

However, for many businesses this may not be enough. What good is a refund on your bill if you need inbound/outbound internet at a crucial point in time and it goes down? Will hotspotting to mobile save you in a pinch or not?

This is why some businesses choose to implement SD-WAN to the door, a combination of different ISPs/connections/plans with load balancing to help keep business internet stable (almost) no matter what.

Are you expanding across multiple sites or require better connections between existing sites?

If between site network connectivity quality assurance is your biggest business concern, then an SD-WAN implementation may be an option to investigate further.

Traditionally, with business data stored either at a main site, or across multiple sites, perhaps even with a managed data centre provider, MPLS has been the networking technology of choice. If this is still the way that you do business, then MPLS may be a cheaper option to consider over SD-WAN.

However, if you are moving towards decentralized services and data with cloud providers, then keep reading…

Are you increasing your use of public cloud services?

One of the main drivers of SD-WAN adoption that we see happening in the business world is the trend towards public cloud services over on-premise or private cloud.

In Flexara’s 2019 State of the Cloud Report, it showed public cloud use was on the rise, with private cloud use declining. It notes that “Respondents are already running applications in a combination of 3.4 public and private clouds and experimenting with 1.5 more for a total of 4.9 clouds.

If your business is moving more towards multiple public cloud services, and you need quality assurance across the network (which may be across various servers around the world), then an SD-WAN implementation, such as we mentioned in Part 2, is the obvious answer.

While MPLS is great for quality assurance network links across multiple sites of your own, it does not fit as a technology for use with multiple public cloud services.

Is mobile work on the rise within your business?

A sometimes overlooked aspect of business networking is the amount of mobile work employees are doing. Do you have policies where people can work from home? Is there often a need for on-the-go mobile work in transit or off-site meetings?

SD-WAN can also be useful for secure, reliable mobile usage, particularly with 5G commencing rollout. Something to think about as the workforce becomes more flexible in its nature.

We’re here to help

We can help analyse your business networking needs now, and for the foreseeable future, and recommend the best technology, or combination of technologies based on your requirements. Whether it’s SD-WAN, MPLS, a simple fibre connection, or private networks. Contact us to learn more about the right connection/s for you.

Next week, check in for part 4 as we wrap up our SD-WAN series, on Choosing an SD-WAN Vendor and/or Managed Services Provider.

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