| 3 min read

SD-WAN: Which model is right for my business?

By  Murray Goodman,
 13 May 2018

If you have already considered deploying SD-WAN, you'll likely be aware of the more obvious benefits this new technology brings; and the fact it has matured to the point where you no longer need to feel your business is taking risks with early adoption of bleeding edge technology.

This combined with a huge vendor push in the market – here in New Zealand and globally – means SD-WAN is now on the radar for many businesses who are considering a technology refresh.

Having made the decision to explore SD-WAN further you are now faced with a key decision point; what deployment model do you choose? The hardware vendors and their marketing material are all full of features and benefits – and the simplicity or deploying and managing this technology – but is this really something you want to tackle yourself, or are you better to leave it to the experts?

To my mind SD-WAN is where the market is heading but from my experience the cost versus benefit does not yet stack up for all customer scenarios; this will improve. In addition not all customers have the internal skills, time and resource, or for that matter the inclination to implement SD-WAN on their own, regardless of how simple the brochure makes it sound.

This has led Kordia to support three major deployment models for our SD-WAN service portfolio.

DIY Deployment Model

At one end is the DIY or Do-It-Yourself deployment model in which our customers buy an ‘SD-WAN ready’ network from Kordia and then deploy the SD-WAN technology themselves. This typically suits customers with a large well-resourced internal IT shop and those that have a mature IT and application infrastructure; they have the skills and breathing space to take on a new technology build and the substantial learning curve that goes with it.

Co-Managed Model

In the middle are those customers that don’t want to take on the responsibility (or risk) of the design and deployment of SD-WAN, but do want the ability to customise or manage some aspects of the deployment once it is up-and-running. This is a co-managed option that is made more viable by SD-WAN technology as it allows the customer to make policy changes or to set compliance rules themselves without the risk of breaking something or some unintended consequence impacting network performance or security. The customer and Kordia work together to pre-agree the parameters that can be changed by the customer without compromising the network, these are then locked down to avoid accidental changes to the network configuration by the customer.

Fully-Managed Model

At the other end of the spectrum is the traditional full-outsource model, where Kordia will deploy and manage the SD-WAN to meet the customer’s needs. The customer benefits from the improved flexibility and visibility provided by SD-WAN but does not require internal resource for the build or day-to-day operation. SD-WAN allows network changes to be implemented quickly by the service provider which is a pain point in a traditional WAN environment and your service provider is able to combine multiple access types onto a single bill with a single point of contact.

This is why I think many customers will elect to take this option as they can remained focused on their customer facing applications and services that improve business differentiation.

So which option is right for your business? The answer to this lies in your response to the following questions:

  • What is your ability to execute - Do you have the skills, resource and time to not only design and manage the deployment and operation of the SD-WAN, but to manage the transition from one environment to another?
  • What other competing projects do you have on the go and where should you be focussing your time and energy?
  • Can your service provider – who has likely already discovered and overcome all the risks and pitfalls and who has a dedicated SD-WAN team – do a better job than you can?

In my view, SD-WAN has much to offer businesses – deciding which model works best for you is something you may want to talk to the experts. So, when you’re ready, why not give Kordia a call?