Software-defined wide area networks have several advantages for businesses, particularly those with several branch offices. At Brooks Brothers, for instance, customer demands drove the need for faster loading speeds on the website and in-store adoption of Software as a Service and web-based apps drove up data throughput requirements.
SD-WAN turned out to be an answer.
“We needed more bandwidth for these new business applications we’d developed, and to better manage the traffic leaving the stores for SaaS providers,” Phillip Miller, head of infrastructure and CISO for the New York–based chain, tells BizTech. “It wasn’t feasible to do it in an MPLS network.”
But implementing SD-WAN can present technical challenges, and the truth is that many of the bigger hurdles revolve around practical, nuts-and-bolts issues. Here’s advice on how to forge ahead with a smooth implementation from those who know.
1. Conduct a Site Survey
Hire an independent firm to assess the situation at each location, Miller. “You need to know what challenges you’re going to face at each location — what’s available, where the demarcation point is and what the cost will be for running external wiring,” he says.
2. Consider Network Speed Needs
Low-latency apps like video or Voice over IP may not work well on all public networks, warns Brian Avery, systems and infrastructure manager for STAR Financial Bank. It’s important for businesses to carefully test their connections to ensure they’re robust enough. He adds that VeloCloud offers ways to troubleshoot and mitigate problems if latency gets out of optimal range.
3. Find a Good Vendor Partner for SD-WAN Management
STAR uses a third-party firm to purchase and manage its broadband portfolio. IDC Senior Research Analyst Brandon Butler endorses that idea, suggesting that businesses that lack in-house technical expertise should consider connecting with providers of SD-WAN management services.