SD-WAN Can Be a Smart Solution—If You Avoid the Pitfalls

Two business people discussing SD-WAN solutions

There are many benefits promised by efficient software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). From new agility and speed of provisioning to driving down total costs, it’s no wonder some of the world’s biggest companies are moving in this direction.

But it pays to look beyond the surface value of any solution. SD-WAN, in particular, can appear deceptively simple. Often viewed as an out-of-the-box, set-it-and-forget-it solution, SD-WAN implementation and post-implementation management can be wrought with pitfalls.

So, continuing in our exploration of the ins and outs of SD-WAN adoption, here’s a look at some of the common pitfalls of adoption and implementation.

Gut check: Three potential pitfalls to consider before purchase

Successful SD-WAN deployment depends on a few factors, from experienced implementation to a steady, long-term monitoring plan. Following are three potential pitfalls that should be considered before any big move:  

1.  Implementation is not plug-and-play—even with carrier support. The truth is, you’ll need to consider a lot of variables. Before purchase, you’ll want to ask questions along the lines of: What solution best fits your organization? How much throughput will you need at each of your sites?  

With regard to setup, it’s important to first consider how a new solution will fit in with your application strategy. Where will voice IP be best deployed? How will you orchestrate interconnectivity?

Emergency response is another critical area: How will you track alerts? Who is notified when a circuit is down or if failovers don’t take place as they should? What should the response and prioritization be from there?

The very process of implementation can be time-consuming, too. For instance, if you’re moving from more traditional MPLS to broadband, then diligent traffic movement is a must, from turning circuits up and down to getting different IPs in place. You’ll need onsite understanding of the various pieces of implementation, from how to reroute traffic to prioritizing apps within your SD-WAN infrastructure.

2.  SD-WAN adoption requires ongoing attention to support ROI. It’s easy enough to buy the box, but many teams may not have the time it takes to ensure it actually runs smoothly and lives up to its promise.

Moving from traditional dual-type topology to SD-WAN can help ensure redundancy, but it also means you’re dealing with dual circuits in one device. Therefore, you’ll need to monitor constantly to respond if a circuit malfunctions. Plus, you still need to stay on top of coordinating circuit modes, to facilitate order processing and tracking.

This ongoing project management can be challenging for organizations with limited resources, or with lots of other projects already on the plate.

3.  Telecom extensions can be time-consuming to manage. It’s one thing to make sure bills are paid at a couple of sites, but it’s no easy coordination feat when you’ve got dozens or more locations that have separate bills coming in. Under-paying or over-paying can be related to getting a circuit with more bandwidth than you need—so the challenge is to determine what kind of connection (speed and bandwidth) is required at each of your locations. In addition, thorough savings tracking will be important to proving to the business that the investment really was worth it.

Solving potential challenges, together

Most of these pitfalls can be avoided with SD-WAN as a service, when you’re partnering with experienced experts you trust. The right process management partner can help save you time and promote ROI on the total cost of ownership, from implementation to circuit tracking to financial reporting.

To learn more about the challenges and opportunities of SD-WAN, please reach out to us today.

This blog post was sponsored by Citrix, a strategic partner of Burwood Group.


November 1, 2018