Top 7 Considerations When Choosing an SD-WAN Vendor and Platform

The current difficult situation made it clear that WAN transformation is essential to realise maximum value from their existing and future cloud investments. However, with many vendors and providers around SD-WAN, it’s extremely difficult to select the right vendor and the best SD-WAN platform for your organisation. There are many criteria and features to considers but here we would like to underline the top seven considerations to keep in mind when evaluating and selecting your SD-WAN vendor and platform.

1. Ability to use any form of WAN transport: this includes lower cost, consumer-grade broadband but still delivering the highest application performance and availability – without any SLA trade-off. This means that the SD-WAN platform must include the ability to overcome the effects of packet loss that occurs when internet connections become congested.

2. Ability to simplify branch WAN edge architecture: An advanced SD-WAN platform can completely replace dedicated legacy routers, firewalls, and WAN optimization devices by unifying all of these network functions in a single WAN edge platform. An added benefit to consolidating WAN edge infrastructure to a single unified platform is the ability to centrally manage ALL aspects of these network functions from a single orchestrator.

3. Automate everything through continuous adaptation: SD-WAN continuously monitors application and network performance and automatically adapts to changing conditions. This means moving traffic to better-performing links when a brownout or outage occurs to always maintain peak application performance. Moreover, the SD-WAN platform must provide automatic, daily updates to SaaS application definitions and the TCP/IP address tables used to address them to keep pace with the ever- changing cloud.

4. Rich end-to-end visibility and analytics, including alerting and reporting: Comprehensive visibility and analytics make it easier for IT to manage, monitor, and administer the SD-WAN. Moreover, it enables faster resolution when problems occur and provide better insight to plan for future growth as the SD-WAN evolves.

5. A rich ecosystem of complementary, best-of-breed partnerships: WAN is complex, security is complex and so is cloud infrastructure. The SD-WAN must provide the flexibility and freedom of choice to integrate with complementary solution providers rapidly and seamlessly to easily take advantage of innovations that arise to address new types of security threats as well as new cloud applications and technologies.

6. Mature, enterprise-grade service, and support: Your SD-WAN vendor should be able to provide follow-the-sun 24/7/365 support including a global network of spares depots with an automated RMA process to quickly and easily resolve any hardware failures. Even if subscribing to SD-WAN as a managed service from a top service provider, the underlying SD-WAN technology provider must still be available at any time to troubleshoot and remedy a Priority 1 issue should it arise.

7. Proven history of delivering WAN innovation: WANs operate very differently from LAN or data center networks. Your SD-WAN vendor that has focused on the WAN understands the nuances of MPLS services, internet services, LTE, and even satellite and microwave – how they operate, how to overcome the effects of packet loss, latency, and jitter. The vendor must understand the different ways of optimizing cloud connectivity to deliver the best cloud application performance.

RedSwan, as part of the Ampito Group, is a vendor-agnostic services provider and can supply your business with the best solution for your organisation. Thanks to our partnership with vendors like Silver Peak, Cisco, Fortinet, and much more, you can select the service which suits your business needs among a wide range of solutions.