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What you need to know about SD-WAN

We chat to Stuart Couchman, our very own CTO at Enablis, about what’s happening with SD-WAN and what it means for Australian businesses. 

Q: Why is there so much hype in the market about SD-WAN?

A: We’re seeing a number of new vendors launching in Australia, which is creating a lot of momentum in the market. Businesses also see SD-WAN as a way of getting the business grade connectivity they need, but at a fraction of the cost of traditional network solutions such as MPLS.

While SD-WAN is an exciting technology that has the potential to deliver a step change in the way that companies build and manage their communications networks, it’s not a magic bullet. It needs to be carefully considered as part of a business’ overall IT strategy.

Q: What are the key things that need to be considered before implementing SD-WAN? 

A: Your SD-WAN solution is only as good as the connectivity options available to you. For example, the success of SD-WAN in North America has been driven by the ubiquitous availability of high-speed internet. We’re just starting out on this journey in Australia, and the successful roll out of NBN is a key factor in determining when SD-WAN will become a viable option for many businesses.     

You also need to consider SLAs. Low cost NBN is an example of a consumer grade offering that comes with little to no service levels, and hardware generally has a next business day agreement. So, you may be saving on cost, but will you get the level of service and support you need if things go wrong?       

You need to consider the impact of working with multiple providers. If you run a distributed business across different locations, you may need to work with different network providers to get the best connectivity possible at each site. At Enablis, we take this headache away from our customers by managing the entire solution for them.

The security of your service also needs to be taken into account. As your employees start directly accessing cloud services via the internet, this creates additional points of vulnerability that need to be secured. So, it’s important to work with a provider who can support your extended enterprise as part of a comprehensive IT security strategy.                   

Q: What are the real benefits of SD-WAN? 

A: SD-WAN really can deliver business agility, transport independence, improved application performance, cost reduction and more, as long as you address the key considerations I’ve already mentioned.

And finally, it’s worth thinking about how SD-WAN can help you make the most of your investment in your current network infrastructure. As it’s a transport independent technology, it can make the transition from a traditional private network to an internet based corporate network a lot smoother.     

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