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How IT Executives Evaluate SD-WAN Solutions

March 27, 2019 No Comments

Featured article by Caitlyn Bell, Independent Technology Author

bdata 2 300x170 How IT Executives Evaluate SD WAN Solutions

The proliferation of cloud applications has IT leaders scrambling to upgrade their wide area networks (WAN) with flexible software-defined technologies. Known as software-defined WAN or SD-WAN, these software-based services help IT teams diversify their network access methodologies for cost savings and more easily manage bandwidth and network performance. SD-WAN enables IT teams to prioritize critical business applications, dynamically allocate bandwidth where it’s needed, and automate many management functions that have traditionally been manual tasks.

Turning rigid IT infrastructures into programmable components, SD-WAN is helping companies achieve new levels of competitiveness because it flexibly responds to changing enterprise needs. In a world where IT advancements come at ever-increasing speeds and CIOs are under pressure to prepare the network for a variety of emerging technologies, SD-WAN is being recognized as a new requirement. As a result, adoption is rising steadily. According to an IDG study, 69% of companies are either actively researching, piloting, or have SD-WAN in production.

Is your organization contemplating deploying SD-WAN technology, either as a full-scale solution or as a hybrid WAN solution integrated into your existing IT network? If so, you may want to consider how IT executives are making their SD-WAN selections. IDG offers a checklist for those looking to navigate the SD-WAN evaluation process.IT executives responded to an IDG Research Services survey, weighing in with the SD-WAN features they think are important to properly assess solutions and partners. The study shows deployment approaches for both innovators and value-based buyers as well as the goals executives hope to achieve with an SD-WAN deployment. Here are the key takeaways from the study.

Security Ranks at the Top

On the list of critical factors, network security considerations took the lead, cited by 50 percent of respondents. An additional 41 percent said that they considered security issues to be very important factors.

To that end, it’s worth investigating whether potential partners deliver enhanced security assurance features, such as integrated next-generation firewalls with unified threat management capabilities in their SD-WAN solutions. It also can be useful to inquire whether providers offer security monitoring services with expert cyber-security staff to help your IT team combat advanced threats to your evolving network.

Agility is Intrinsic

Flexibility was also a main issue in determining SD-WAN supplier choices: 24 percent of respondents named it as a critical factor and 67 percent called it very important.

Managed service providers, for instance, may support deployment and usage flexibility by offering fully integrated SDN platforms as part of their SD-WAN solutions, thus eliminating lock-in to a single vendor or technology offering. Fully integrated solutions allow you to mix and match access and technology types (ie: public internet vs. private) based on location, application environment, and user needs.

Visibility and Control are Necessary

Having a range of available features and functionality were critical vendor considerations for 23 percent of survey-takers and very important for 59 percent of them.

Providing a deep level of visibility and control into the network and offering the ability to customize solutions rounded out the top five critical/most important issues. And if you choose carefully, visibility and control can span both SD-WAN and private network connection.

The full Market Pulse survey has the complete checklist of questions to ask your potential partners. Plus, it also provides:

- Deployment approaches for innovators and value-based buyers

- IT executives’ most important WAN goals and SD-WAN capabilities

- Why SD-WAN is the “go-to” technology

- SD-WAN adoption rates

Download SD-WAN: Meeting the Demands of Digital Business



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