Our team are genuinely excited about proposing BT Global & UK SD-WAN services. We are under no doubt the next generation of WAN connectivity innovation will be delivered under the umbrella of SDN (Software Defined Networking). And yet, the majority of hype surrounding SD-WAN revolves around cost savings often with little mention of the technology problem solving benefits. (more on that later).
So, can SD-WAN really save your business money vs. tried and trusted services such as MPLS, VPLS and Point to Point / Multipoint Ethernet? Is MPLS finished?
How are SD-WAN cost savings achieved?
The hype and buzz from certain providers is based on how MPLS is so ‘yesterday’ because SD-WAN is more feature rich and capable of saving huge WAN expenditure. The question is, where are the savings achieved? In the main, the commercial reductions are taken from using low cost Internet connectivity where the lowest proposal from in region ISPs is selected. The more complex answer is based on leveraging cloud services with inbuilt security and the flexibility of using both hardware and client based applications as a standardised WAN platform.
As with an Internet VPN, SD-WAN over the Internet is indeed capable of generating seriously low pricing where the technology is appropriately deployed vs. connectivity which meets business requirements. In this respect, saving money by using low cost Internet providers is nothing new - the Enterprise has been achieving Internet based IP VPN cost savings for many years.
The original vision of SDN surrounded agnostic connectivity meaning it’s not all about Internet based traffic. A single device or client with the capability to support multiple circuit types.
If your IT team is considering replacing MPLS based on costs as the main driver then it is important to be aligned on the potential pitfalls, risks and opportunities. Remember that software networking should interface with layer 3 MPLS, the technology is in fact agnostic.
SD-WAN over the Internet results in lower pricing?
If your prospective SD-WAN is Internet based, there is a critical difference when comparing the two types of typical ‘Internet’ connectivity associated with Software WAN connectivity. Lets compare the Internet vs. Public IP vs. MPLS.
Our team have reached the conclusion that Hybrid WAN is the outcome of choice where the right connectivity is used in the appropriate situation based on business value requirements.