As enterprises look to optimize their cloud experience, they need to pay close attention to their network. For the past 20 years, MPLS has served as the de-facto standard for enterprise networking, but cloud services require much more bandwidth and greater service agility than MPLS can provide. Today, public cloud is a large and growing part of mission-critical business services, creating a paradigm shift where Internet traffic has already surpassed WAN traffic for a typical enterprise network. The bottom line is that the cloud is breaking the WAN so customers need to do something disruptive, and the good news is that SD-WAN has emerged to provide an MPLS alternative.
The emergence of Managed SD-WAN
SD-WAN provides an opportunity to break the chains of costly MPLS networks, allowing enterprises to take advantage of broadband pricing across multiple service provider connections. SD-WAN offers simplified security for broadband circuits while enhancing broadband reliability and performance to MPLS levels for WAN applications. But once you get beyond the most basic WAN use case for branch-to-branch connectivity, there are dramatic differences between SD-WAN platforms. What customers want is an SD-WAN solution that simplifies security, reliability, and performance for all users, applications, and services that run on their network.
For legacy MPLS customers, the natural evolution is to choose an SD-WAN as a managed service. The managed services model brings the confidence of having SD-WAN expertise to help ensure successful design and deployment. With the managed service provider handling the SD-WAN, the CIO can re-allocate precious IT resources to other areas. Above all, the managed SD-WAN provider becomes your strategic partner for service integration that helps drive your digital business transformation.
Getting the most of your Managed SD-WAN
To reach your full SD-WAN potential, you need a Managed SD-WAN solution that provides versatility in two key areas, cloud adoption and network services. Cloud versatility means that customers should be able to seamlessly connect and control any public or private cloud application with their SD-WAN. Network services versatility means you can use whatever access circuits you want and still have a full stack of SD-WAN embedded virtual network functions available to optimize your customer experience.
MPLS providers have already recognized how SD-WAN is an imminent threat to customer renewals; the customer should be wary of Managed SD-WAN providers who are primarily looking to preserve their MPLS cash cow. MPLS Hybrid is a popular SD-WAN use case. However, customers should recognize that proven broadband optimization technology is available that makes full MPLS replacement a viable alternative.
Your Managed SD-WAN provider will ultimately become the central component of your next-generation business network, so it is essential to choose a Managed SD-WAN provider that gives you maximum network versatility. Customers should look for carrier-agnostic providers who offer Managed SD-WAN with a full complement of virtual network functions plus seamless integration for any third-party cloud applications you need.