Member Article

The three ground rules of choosing an SD-WAN solution

By Adam Fuoss, Silver Peak VP of technical sales

Deciding on the right SD-WAN solution for an organisation can be a difficult process, but once a few ground rules are established, it is possible to have a successful implementation that delivers on the full promise of SD-WAN. Failing to adequately research the attributes of a chosen solution may lead an organisation into costly difficulties. Before choosing an SD-WAN solution for an enterprise, there are three important factors you need to get right: a comprehensive evaluation of partners with whom companies are initiating their projects, finding a product that succinctly caters to the needs of an organisation, as well as the importance of forward thinking to the effective planning and execution of a deployment.

**1. Partners are crucial to success ** The success of an SD-WAN implementation is reliant on the various partners and what they bring the project – expertise here is key. It is pivotal that a partner can guide businesses through foundational design and architecture decisions, as well as demonstrate a repeatable process to follow that’s worked with countless other customers beforehand. Picking the right partner can mean the difference between the success or failure of an SD-WAN project. Partners include the technology vendor, channel partner, service providers, systems integrators or managed service providers – each is vital to the project in their own field.

2. The right product really matters Not all SD-WAN products are right for all companies and there are salient factors that determine whether a solution is appropriate for an organisation. Crucially, given that an SD-WAN product cannot be implemented overnight, the organisation’s chosen solution must be able to integrate with legacy routing protocols, such as border gateway protocol (BGP), and open shortest path first (OSPF).

The ability to work across an SD-WAN fabric is key, as well as multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networks to talk to legacy non-SD-WAN sites. Once this is ensured, a more seamless SD-WAN transition can be guaranteed. Organisation’s must thoroughly evaluate leading solutions and choose an SD-WAN product that strikes an appropriate balance between SD-WAN innovation and the ability to work with legacy company infrastructure.

**3. Planning and execution are vital ** Having chosen a prospective SD-WAN solution, perhaps the determining variable to success is in the planning and execution of the implementation. It must be thoroughly understood how the solution connects into the data centre, cloud and security stack. There needs to be a standard template for the new branch architecture to identify how applications will utilise this new WAN and plan for how legacy sites will interoperate until they become SD-WAN sites. Also, if there are other major changes taking place, such as a move to cloud security services, those should also be planned for at this time. It is during this planning phase that the mettle of an SD-WAN solution can be tested, and whether it is right for the organisation in question. If serious complications arise, then it would be sage for an organisation to reconsider its chosen product or deployment plan. If appropriate steps are taken, then it will be time well spent when an organisation is able to roll out as many as 50 sites a day.

Ultimately, if these important ground rules are followed, then what can seem like a nebulous choice of which is the right SD-WAN solution for an organisation is simplified. All it takes is careful analysis of the product, the partners an organisation will be working with and the strategic planning of how the SD-WAN will be implemented, to determine which SD-WAN is best suited to a company – as with many things, research into the topic pays dividends.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by William Johnson .

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