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Deploying SD-WAN for the first time? Four Pitfalls to avoid

October 17, 2022 | 3 Minutes Reading

Businesses today are no longer relying on the old WAN and have shifted to SD-WAN technology. This is so because WAN is no longer sufficient, mostly due to the need to backhaul all traffic, which reduces productivity and creates a bad user experience.

Deploying SD-WAN for the first time? Four Pitfalls to avoid

SD-WAN, or software-defined wide area networks boost productivity and dependability. SD-WAN is influencing strategic choices as a key enabler of digital transformation in the business world. However, companies often make mistakes when deploying SD-WAN technology.

In this article, we discuss 4 common errors you should look to avoid.

What is SD-WAN?

To understand what SD-WAN is, we must first understand what WAN is:

A wide-area network (WAN) is essentially a collection of interconnected local area networks (LANs) or other networks that communicate with one another. The best example of a WAN Network is the Internet, which is the largest WAN in the world and is effectively a network of networks. Software-Defined Wide Area Network or SD-WAN was developed to make WAN architectures simpler to implement, run, and manage. Through the use of virtualization technology, this ground-breaking solution enables the WAN to be configured and operated programmatically.

By removing the need for traffic to pass through the data centre hub, SD-WAN enables security functions to be implemented at the network edge, lowering latency and boosting network performance.

In simpler words, SD-WAN technology is a better way to build and manage a long-distance network. SD-WAN are virtual architectures that allow enterprises to use services like MPLS and internet broadband to securely connect users to applications. 

Benefits of SD-WAN

  • Increased scalability and bandwidth at a cheaper cost: Businesses can easily scale up or down with SD-WAN to handle the changing demands of cloud workloads.

  • Better security throughout the whole network: Some SD-WANs incorporate network access restrictions and firewalls, which strengthen enterprise network security and reduce the likelihood of a breach.

  • Easily controlled from a single location: Businesses with data centres, colocation facilities, and national or international offices can connect all of these locations with an SD-WAN that allows communication across all branches.

  • Improved WAN Management: By offering a consolidated and integrated picture of the network that is simple to maintain at scale, cloud-based SD-WAN adds value in this situation. 

  • The superior performance of the application: The success of many businesses depends on their applications. Everything else collapses if your application goes down. The performance of all applications is improved with SD-WAN. How so? Increased consistency across all application touchpoints, high availability, and more predictable service. Dynamically routed application traffic for better user experience.

 4 Pitfalls To Avoid When Deploying SD-WAN

As discussed before, we can see that SD-WANs offer a variety of advantages. However, it is only so when the technology is deployed properly. Here are some pitfalls that you should avoid when deploying SD-WAN:

1. Selecting The Wrong Vendor

The first pitfall to avoid when deploying SD-WAN technology is choosing the wrong vendor. The majority of IT decision-makers will start their SD-WAN analysis by investigating the top providers. Due to the extensive marketing that exists for SD-WAN products, this initial step is difficult.

Although features such as security and the cloud allow users to work safely from any location, IT teams must assess their user processes to understand how each vendor is best positioned to provide its services. Consider the complete solution while planning an SD-WAN rather than just the individual technological components.

Selections shouldn't be made solely on the basis of technical proficiency. Look over all the options and pick the one that best suits the needs, finances, and technological know-how of the firm.

2. Ignoring The Need For Security 

SD-WAN is frequently seen as a more secure choice. Networks can be configured with encrypted tunnels that are largely adaptable to the demands of the business and can function practically like a VPN. There are, however, a variety of various factors that must be taken into account. Installing an SD-WAN and assuming it to be secure is incorrect. It's equally irrational to believe that it isn't secure at all, though. The truth is that many SD-WAN solutions claim they can replace current security functionality even if they lack inherently powerful security capabilities.

Careful planning may substantially eliminate security breaches. Some SD-WAN solutions enable businesses to extend protection by integrating already-existing security features into SD-WAN operations. Plan to maintain current security technologies or replace them with new additional security capabilities that the bought SD-WAN solution might not offer.

A good level of encryption and next-generation firewall features are essential; you could discover that some SD-WANs already have these features configured. The most important thing is to make sure the security you implement corresponds to the purposes for which your network is used.

 3. Layout provisioning

It makes sense to switch SD-default WAN's connectivity option from private WAN technologies like MPLS to the internet. Almost every business is implementing a SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS public cloud-first approach. Which underlay service providers are best suited to a company's locations and whether to use a single IP backbone or multi-ISP strategy are the challenges associated with SD-WAN. 

If the choice is not made after deliberations, it could result in unnecessary expenses for your business in the future. Then, how to make an informed decision?

For large, international businesses, a single IP backbone makes sense since traffic stays within a single autonomous system, improving the predictability of latency and jitter across application performance. In contrast, national networks may take into account a multi-ISP strategy based on specific postal codes because round-trip time isn't as important to them.

But teams need to think about more than just network performance. Traditional MPLS network operations centres offer end-to-end control of both the WAN edge and circuit, and are renowned for their concentration and troubleshooting skills. ISPs aren't typically as focused, thus it falls on the vendor to oversee and troubleshoot connectivity difficulties. It is critical for IT teams to comprehend how potential providers will provide a service-level agreement to monitor and troubleshoot connectivity, depending on whether they choose DIY SD-WAN or managed SD-WAN.

4. Not Developing A Thorough Action Plan

 Last but not the least, you should always have a strategy before deploying SD-WAN. A new adopter of SD-WAN will probably encounter several expensive but avoidable problems if they don't develop a clear action plan. Prior to deployment, it's critical to understand the following things:

 Which websites will launch first?

  • How the new SD-WAN will function in conjunction with the current WAN?

  • How will employees be trained?

  • Anticipated performance outcomes

  • How will the deployment be controlled and observed?

  • Which provider to use depending on the traffic situation

 It is crucial to have a plan for SD-WAN as well as backup plans. You must ensure that someone is assigned to monitor these projects and that this person either prepares or is equipped with a thorough SD-WAN implementation plan.

Wrapping Up

Without a thorough SD-WAN deployment strategy, enterprises risk having applications that perform poorly or not at all. Even worse, due to unanticipated problems, entire sites will always run the danger of losing connectivity. With SD-WAN as a service, most of these pitfalls can be avoided if you work with knowledgeable professionals you can rely on. In all areas of deployment, circuit tracking, and financial reporting, the proper process management partner can help you save time and increase ROI. You can contact us HERE for a FREE consultation. 

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