The advantages and disadvantages of SD WAN


Determining if SD-WAN is the right solution for a company’s digital transformation strategy is an immense consideration. Organizations need to consider the best network solutions that can help them move their infrastructure, tools, programs, and technologies to the cloud. As more companies look to SD-WAN as a catalyst for their digital transformation, the decision makers at these companies must consider the fundamental shift in how they manage all of their geographically-dispersed locations. They looking at the ways this technology is saving money. They’re also looking at if (or maybe how) SD-WAN can provide higher speeds than the traditional MPLS options that existed previously. 

Advantages of SD-WAN

The reasons organizations may consider SD-WAN grow daily.  A few of the top reasons include:

  • Flexibility and control: SD-WAN inherently offers additional control mechanisms related to prioritization and analytics allowing administrators the ability to throttle applications and data as needed for the best outcome.
  • SD-WAN Security: Security needs to be part of any network discussion. Most managed SD-WAN providers as well as non-managed SD-WAN options include a multitude of security features.  
  • SD-WAN Automation: While networking hasn’t reached real-time AI-based automation, SD-WAN is getting close. Automation options enabled via active-active and active-passive configurations are included.
  • SD-WAN Cost: SD-WAN deployments (especially managed) allow organizations to save as much as 50% vs. traditional MPLS deployments

Disadvantages

  • Management and Deployment:  Self-management and deployment is capital intensive. Understanding the difference, features, and opportunities for DIY deployments can be difficult for IT departments that need to plan and handle everything internally, which may impact traditional cost savings.
  • Time to Deploy:  There have been reports that SD-WAN deployments from traditional networking providers are taking longer to get up and running. That being said, all reports suggest that once installed, they run fine. This must be a consideration when looking at the multitude of providers out there today. 
  • Broadband:  This is a double-edged sword that needs to be discussed. While SD-WAN on pure broadband lowers costs and allows organizations the flexibility they’ve always wanted in selecting providers compared to private MPLS, there are numerous risks to relying on “best effort” public connectivity. Having a back up plan is paramount.