Perhaps you’re sitting down in the near future to evaluate SD WAN solutions and try to choose a winner (and some losers) for your business? In this article, we talk about some of the considerations when embarking on SD WAN vendor comparison. In order to assist, our team have added all of the key comparison data points into the latest version of the IT Managers Buyers Framework. To request a copy of the framework, read on to learn more.
Above, the IT Managers SD WAN buyers Framework is a great companion when embarking on a procurement project.
If this is the case, you’re no doubt overrun by sales people, marketing materials, and a bevy of new terminology, creating a Gordian knot for you to sort out and sort through.
You may have seen one of our recent article that recommended you try to familiarise yourself with the “minimum features that define an SD WAN solution”, keep it in front of you, and let it help to guide you in your search for the right fit. Today, let’s dig a little deeper into the 4 (more specific) areas you’re going to need to consider when evaluating UK SD WAN products.
These are perhaps, going to help you focus your efforts AFTER you’ve settled on a base set of features you think you’re seeking.
Finally, you need to consider just what your business IT staff is equipped to manage (or NOT equipped to manage). I’m always a bit amused when I ask about reporting capabilities/analytics and a vendor responds with something along the lines of “we have a rich API and a robust development community driven by our users”. I’m amused because I’ve never been fortunate enough to work in an organisation with a half dozen or so developers who can spend their days integrating a vendor solution into our daily workflow.
I mean, I know that those organisations exist, and I’m sure they’re nice places to work, but I’ve always needed those features to be there, and be there out of the box for the most part. In most cases, I can’t dedicate one or two FTE for the first year to writing code that leverages a vendor API to make a product work the way we really wanted it to. However, some organisations (particularly those that are shifting TOWARD a “cloud first” strategy) may have far more programmers than they have network staffers.
In fact, it may be why you’re considering an SD WAN solution to begin with. This is why I say you need to consider, at a higher level, whether you’re looking for a less-expensive (bare-bones) solution, or a more put-together “single pane of glass” solution with greatly simplified management. Your organisation might even be best served by one of the increasingly popular UK SD WAN as a service solutions that frees your network and IT staff to worry less about your network and more about your day-to-day datacenter and helpdesk needs. Just take some time to figure out what kind of solution you can (and CAN’T) manage with your current IT resources.
Whatever solution you choose, I’d suggest trying to sort out where you stand in each of these five areas first. Decide where you are in each area, and where you want to get to. Every organisation is different, and depending on the business sector you’re in, or the business challenges you face, you may have one, or more additional areas you need to consider. One thing that won’t change however, is that you should make sure that an SD WAN solution works for you, works for your business, and improves the experience for your users, and your customers.