How to determine which SD-WAN vendor is right for your company
Before Selecting an SD-WAN vendor
Combines a low-cost hardware appliance (a “box”) and proprietary software to create a WAN that typically runs over the top on either DIA or broadband. Companies who choose DIY SD-WAN are paying CAPEX by purchasing the SD-WAN boxes and software licenses from the DIY provider or reseller. Bandwidth is also a separate purchase and can sometimes be sourced by the DIY reseller. As the name suggests, all set up, management, and technical support for a DIY SD-WAN system is the responsibility of the purchaser rather than the provider or reseller.
Examples: Cisco Meraki and Viptela, Cloudgenix, Silver Peak, Versa Networks, VMware Velocloud
Managed SD-WAN Providers
A provider that bundles bandwidth, SD-WAN (hardware and software), and value-adds such as cybersecurity or unified communications (typically provided by 3rd-party partners) into a single managed service for a monthly OPEX cost. Managed SD-WAN Providers position themselves as a “one-stop-shop” for connectivity and support, often with no CAPEX and minimal intervention required for the support and management of the SD-WAN hardware and software. Customers usually purchase DIA or broadband separately as it is rare for Managed SD-WAN Providers to own their own networks.
Examples: Aryaka, Cato Networks, Masergy
An incumbent local or national telecommunications carrier who bundles a DIY SD-WAN box/software, set up, and support into a managed service over the carrier’s existing network infrastructure. Carrier-based SD-WAN is offered to SMBs up to large enterprises as either a fully managed or co-managed OPEX model. Typical customers for Carrier-based SD-WAN are either those who already have MPLS through the incumbent telco and do not want to change providers or are large global enterprises who don’t want to spend the CAPEX for a DIY SD-WAN but require a “named” provider for their networking services.
Examples: AT&T (VMware Velocloud), CenturyLink (Versa Networks), Verizon Enterprise (Cisco Viptela)