Software defined WAN (SD-WAN) is fast becoming the new standard in wide-area networking, with rapid adoption driven by improved flexibility/functionality, accompanied by cost reduction and simplified management.
However, SD-WAN is far from all or nothing. It frequently complements other network technologies such as switched Ethernet, wavelength services, and dedicated cloud connectivity to deliver hybrid networking solutions that can best meet specific enterprise needs. For example, many organizations opt to deploy SD-WAN to remote locations as a low‑cost managed service, while retaining private networking at data center locations for lower per-bit cost at high speeds.
Still other enterprises layer SD-WAN over existing IT infrastructure to create competitive advantages. An enterprise going through intensive M&A activity may have standardized on a platform designed for easy migration of acquired networks. In this scenario, SD-WAN can provide secure, public connections to cloud service providers while leveraging the existing platform for continuing streamlined migration.
The path to a satisfying hybrid implementation
There are many more hybrid networking options for aligning infrastructure with business strategy. The key, however, is to enlist a technology partner that can effectively match and consolidate those options for an optimal solution. One size does not fit all networking scenarios. Below are some of the considerations.
The technology partner should first begin with an accounting of the enterprise’s unique operating, financial, and performance requirements. Then, the technology-agnostic network design should consider the following areas:
Many enterprises will have additional, specialized needs that must be taken into account. Fortunately, hybrid WAN provides an exceptional level of flexibility that a provider’s professional services group can leverage to satisfy all requirements discovered during a needs assessment.
If stepping up to hybrid WAN seems a bit complicated, the rewards – entirely new levels of network diversity, scalability, and security, all delivered at a low price point – are well worth the assessment and planning efforts. The key is to partner with a service provider that can deliver a custom hybrid WAN solution that fully satisfies the enterprise’s unique requirements today and in the future.
Michael Kozlowski served as the Senior Director of Transport and Access Product Management for Windstream Enterprise where he was responsible for ensuring the reliability, product functionality and competitive pricing of the company’s access and cloud solutions including SDNow, Ethernet 2.0, Wavelength Services and Dark Fiber. Prior to joining Windstream Enterprise, Mike was VP of Product Management at Integra Telecom, leading organizational vision and execution and specifically focused on Ethernet networking, overseeing Integra’s Layer 2 and 3 VPN service expansion, cloud voice, private and public cloud offerings. His previous experience includes technology positions at 360 Networks, Level 3 (now CenturyLink), and Comcast. Mike holds an MBA with an emphasis in Finance from the University of Denver, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, and a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology.
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