Making the Most of SD-WAN Cost Savings

SD-WAN cost savings may come in the form of commodity software and automation.

Much of the attraction surrounding software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is related to the improvements that have a direct impact on the WAN budget. From network optimization to inherently better security, there are many ways in which enterprises gain financial benefits from a network infrastructure upgrade. To make the most of SD-WAN cost savings, there are a few steps an enterprise should take:

NSP Independence and Wholesale Access: Because access tends to comprise about 60% of the overall WAN costs — no matter if it’s fiber or copper lines — it’s a good idea to purchase wholesale access at discounted rates. A wholesaler can provide your enterprise with a one-stop-shop for network access and handle all of the installation, support, and billing. This allows the enterprise to be independent of a single network service provider and get better rates.

Mix-and-match transport services: SD-WAN allows you to use a virtual overlay to designate different types of pathways for different types of traffic. From multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) to public internet, you can determine which applications demand certain qualities in their transport type, and set them up for automated policies. While critical applications that manage the business may require the reliability of an MPLS line, streaming a YouTube video to illustrate a point for a sales training session may be fine on a public internet line.

Choose commodity hardware and software: Hardware and software can be a source of SD-WAN cost savings because open-source practices have significantly reduced the price. In any branch office, a print server’s hardware can also handle the router and security software, for instance, because the need for SD-WAN-specific hardware has disappeared. While there may be some initial hurdles based on who owns or manages the hardware versus the services, it’s a good idea to let the network team own and manage the hardware for an appliance implementation.

Automate: SD-WAN cost savings also come in the form of zero-touch provisioning and the automation of network adjustments and changes. This reduces the number of employees necessary for installation and management, as well as support, for the WAN. When congestion or an outage threatens connectivity, SD-WAN allows for automatic rerouting to another pathway. The end user never knows there was a threat to their data transmission.

While these steps are often well-known and regularly practiced by cloud providers, enterprises can follow suit to achieve better, faster, and cheaper solutions for their network infrastructure. It’s no longer the case that enterprises are forced to choose between just a few providers for their SD-WAN technology.

To learn more about the potential for SD-WAN cost savings, in addition to the other benefits a network infrastructure upgrade can produce, contact us at Compass Solutions.

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