Partner SD-WAN

Exploring DIY vs. Managed SD-WAN

Guest post by Meriplex,

In the age of cloud computing and digital transformation, many companies of all sizes have begun adopting software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) solutions for their WAN infrastructure to help support and accelerate these initiatives.

SD-WAN enhances the capabilities of your wide area network by improving the performance of your critical applications and establishing reliable connectivity between your branch locations and your data center and cloud assets. By supporting a wide and agile range of transport options, SD-WAN creates a consistent experience for your end users by effectively mitigating interruptions to day-to-day network operations.

DIY, or do-it-yourself, SD-WAN implies that a company’s in-house IT staff deploys the SD-WAN solution and fully manages every aspect of it. When a company chooses a managed SD-WAN solution, they outsource the solution’s deployment and management to a managed service provider (MSP). Both have their pros and cons, and it’s pivotal to understand your business requirements when choosing the right approach.

Let’s take a look at the differences between these two approaches to determine which one is the best fit for your organization.  

When is DIY SD-WAN the Right Choice?

DIY SD-WAN solutions usually work well for large-scale enterprises with a sizable IT department. These organizations typically have a deep knowledge of networking and the time and expertise to understand the SD-WAN technology and implement it effectively in their company’s network. They plan the deployment and select the appliance models, software packages, and configurations that the SD-WAN solution will utilize.

They also have the expertise to customize the solution to meet the business IT needs of their organization. Once the deployment is completed, the IT team will usually spend time managing and troubleshooting the solution without an outsourced partner. From a financial perspective, DIY SD-WAN solutions are best suited for companies that prefer CAPEX budgets to purchase all the required hardware and software for the solution. DIY SD-WAN solutions come with sizable upfront investments and also require a large time commitment and a skilled workforce to properly implement it.

When Is Managed SD-WAN the Best Choice?

A managed SD-WAN solution often works best for businesses who are focused on driving IT value, transformation with partners and maintaining a lean department. When a business allows an MSP to deploy and manage their SD-WAN solution, they free up both time and overhead that they can re-allocate towards their core functions. With this type of engagement, the MSP designs, configures and deploys the SD-WAN solution on behalf of the business. The MSP also creates business value by fully managing the SD-WAN solution and provides an OPEX financial model that is predictable and easy to consume. Managed SD-WAN solutions are best suited for businesses that want more of a hands-off approach and are willing to work with an outsourced MSP.

Questions to Consider Before Choosing an SD-WAN Solution

When you begin determining which SD-WAN approach is right for your business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How large is my IT team? If you have a sizable IT team or department, you may have the resources to implement a DIY SD-WAN solution successfully. However, a nimbler IT team or department can become overwhelmed when tasked with such a large-scale project.
  • Do I have the right technical resources? Some SD-WAN deployments can be complex and having the right expertise on-hand is key to your project’s success. With a managed SD-WAN approach, the MSP is staffed with knowledgeable technical resources needed to support all the moving components of designing, deploying and managing your SD-WAN environment.
  • Do I want to own the solution? When you take a DIY SD-WAN approach, your IT budget should be able to support the capital investment required to purchase, deploy, and maintain your solution. If you do not have the budget available to purchase new hardware and software for your solution, you may gain more value from handing the project over to an MSP to avoid the costly upfront investment by leveraging an OPEX model.
  • How much control do I want over my solution? If you want complete control of your SD-WAN solution without leveraging outside providers, the DIY approach is likely the best fit for you. However, if you prefer to reap the solution’s benefits while outsourcing the heavy lifting and management, a managed SD-WAN solution may give you the best value.  

After you have answered these questions, you are now ready to choose your SD-WAN approach.

Create Your SD-WAN Solution with Meriplex

Meriplex helps our customers begin their journey to an industry-leading managed SD-WAN solution that unlocks the power of wide area networks. Our solutions offer complete visibility, analytics, 24×7 proactive monitoring and management, as well as enhanced security controls, among other benefits. Find out more at the Meriplex website,


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