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How to Choose the Right SD-WAN Service Provider for Your Business

So, you’ve heard about the benefits of SD-WAN at the leading edge of software-based networking deployments. Your remote users need significantly more bandwidth and direct access to a growing number of SaaS and cloud-based applications. The next step is to find the right partner to help you embrace the right technologies to transform your network and your business. But where do you start when evaluating the best fit? In this guest blog, Matt Douglass, Senior Director of Solution Engineering at CBTS, outlines the process, starting with discovery, and extending to careful and timely deployment.

 

Finding the Right Partner

With a boom in innovative technology in the last five years, businesses’ ability to design and deploy across multiple different environments has been stretched. The team at CBTS has spent a lot of time learning about the needs of today’s IT department – so that when a customer is moving over from a legacy MPLS network or are seeking a hybrid environment, we know exactly where to start. We look at where they are today and how we can seamlessly and effectively move them over to the next-generation of SD-WAN networks.

An important factor to consider for mid-market customers or those who want to free up IT resources is choosing a partner with a managed services approach. This means that your trusted SD-WAN partner will be there for Day 2 Operations, helping you monitor, maintain, and test to ensure all your applications and services are being delivered and running smoothly.

There is a misperception in the market that once the architecture has been designed with a partner, the customer is left with a platform that they don’t have full control over. With VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud, VMware has built a platform that allows the managed service provider to deploy easily to deliver business outcomes, all while allowing the customer to co-manage with centralized monitoring, visibility and cloud control.

 

The “Easy Button” and the Reality

In the last 30 years, we have seen few paradigm shifts that could compare to the introduction of SD-WAN. Customers are rightly seeing this as the next-generation solution that will fix and improve user experience and ensure the quality of service for applications.

However, one of the biggest misconceptions about SD-WAN out there is that it’s an all-encompassing ‘easy button.’ This may prove accurate if a solution is designed properly, but a DIY approach can prove problematic. Even if your IT team has a good understanding of SD-WAN, deploying without the support of a partner may prove challenging, especially for organizations deploying to 1,000 or more sites.

With the right partner and the right deployment, you can gain a level of control and visibility over your applications that you never had before, while eliminating the potential of disruption to your network.

 

Embracing Change

Networking technologies are constantly evolving, meaning continuous learning is key to the success of any software-defined IT strategy. Step one is to support customers in understanding the difference and similarities between the traditional network and SD-WAN, and between outcome versus determined infrastructure.

Step two is to understand newer technologies that are increasingly part of the SD-WAN conversation, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UcaaS). It’s the role of your trusted partner to help you understand the role they have to play in the context of your desired business outcomes.

Another tip is to select a partner that is intrigued by your business challenges today and the outcomes you want tomorrow, rather than one that proposes a generic plan that could be relevant to any use case. Whether that means reducing operating expenses or achieving 100 percent application uptime during network failures, a good partner will ask the right questions and take the time to understand where your company’s network and application flow is today so they can design and deploy successfully.

 

Future of Networks

At VMworld 2019, two key technologies were highlighted for their impact on the compute landscape: IoT and 5G. Without SD-WAN, your IT department can manage 100, or even 1,000 devices pretty well. Soon, however, it will be impossible to manage the millions of devices, all their connections, and how the devices talk to each other without software intelligence in your network. As IoT and 5G push more compute to the edge, SD-WAN will quickly become critical in helping prioritize traffic.

From simplified branch networks to greater agility, your IT department has numerous constraints that can now be alleviated with SD-WAN. Once you select the perfect partner, your organization will be one step closer to solving the unique challenges facing your remote sites, and to equip your workforce with more resources to spend on digital transformation within your business.

 

Read next: You can learn more about CBTS’ collaboration with VMware on the OnX blog.

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