How to resolve and prevent challenges of SD-WAN solutions
As enterprises shift to cloud services, mobile workforces and virtualization of networks, there’s a need for greater bandwidth at more cost effective rates. Software Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) is a great solution for many applications so it’s not surprising that the adoption of SD-WAN is accelerating. Gartner predicts the adoption rate for SD-WAN to shoot to a staggering 50% by 2020 from a 2016 rate of 2%. However, it is not a solve-all solution and can inherently come with some complications.
“By 2020, 50% of WAN Edge infrastructure refresh initiatives will be based on SD-WAN vs. traditional routers, up from 2% today.” – Joe Skorupa, Gartner
SD-WAN offers many advantages; including flexibility and speed at a lower cost than traditional multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) networks. And, since SD-WAN solutions are carrier and transport agnostic, it means that the more expensive MPLS can be replaced with what should be more cost-effective connections (e.g. broadband internet and LTE). However, the decentralized design of SD-WAN is causing new enterprise operating expense (Opex) challenges.
The hybrid challenge: the MPLS and SD-WAN combination
MPLS legacy networks will not disappear overnight. Agreements for MPLS networks are multi-year and quality of service (QoS) / class of service (CoS) options may not be available in an SD-WAN solution. This means the upgrade to SD-WAN will occur as agreements term out, and as new applications and locations come on board that’s a good match for SD-WAN’s capabilities. The result for many Enterprises will be a hybrid model, for at least the near term. SD-WAN solutions add another level of complex billing and support challenges as access through SD WAN applications operate in a carrier agnostic environment, unlike the single carrier model that MPLS typically has in place.
The Opex and management challenge
Consider that an enterprise with traditional MPLS networks typically acquires bandwidth through one service provider. With SD-WAN, enterprises will need to establish direct relationships with (usually) regional service providers. To be the most cost effective, a single carrier 200 site MPLS network migration to SD-WAN could create 30 new relationships with new service providers. Each provider requires their own paperwork, contract, terms and pricing. And when there is a troubled circuit, it’s much more difficult to determine who to contact and have the appropriate information available. Identifying the specific circuit ID, service provider, and account information to report an issue – in real time – is a challenge. In addition to managing multiple contracts and several more invoices. Tellennium’s Integrated Management System (TIMS)®, resolves these issues by providing:
- Instant access to Accounts, Circuit Details, and Provider Contacts
- Bill Consolidation
- Complete A/P Processing (including coding)
- Contract Management
“SD-WAN solutions add another level of complex billing and support challenges as access through SD WAN applications operate in a carrier agnostic environment, unlike the single carrier model that MPLS typically has in place.”
Answering the challenge: TIMS®
We have automated the tracking and auditing of telecom-related expenses. Your team will have access to a detailed real-time and historical view of your communications technology infrastructure – inclusive of a complete inventory of services, circuits, vendors, contracts, contacts, expense allocations, payment history/reconciliation, changes – with audit and optimization options available for all services. This also includes total visibility into the complete AP Management Process. We can handle all of AP telecom complexities including receipt of all invoices, scanning/imaging/EDI, coding, payment, dispute resolution and account reconciliation – and offer API integration options to your current financial support systems. We will manage all aspects of the communications technology AP process.
In addition, our consultative capabilities for procurement and carrier agreements are not tied to specific carriers. Since we do not represent carriers or equipment manufacturers our focus is on our customers’ best interests and since we represent many enterprises, we not only have clout in the market, we know what the best rates are and the solutions that exist. Many equipment providers claim they perform SD-WAN. We have found that feature sets and capabilities across SD-WAN providers and equipment vary greatly. This leaves room for us to assist you in making an informed decision that is in the best interest of your company. And in a dynamic and fast paced market where big named manufacturers are buying up SD WAN providers for their technology (even though they may already have competing products), this guidance is crucial. If you are considering a shift to SD-WAN, and would like to discuss the insights we see in implementation, call us (800) 939-9440 (or, click here).
What is SD-WAN? A Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is designed to make communications networks for enterprises more agile, reliable, and cost effective. Gartner defines SD-WAN with four key traits:
- Supports multiple connection types (i.e. MPLS, LTE, T1, etc.)
- Allows for load sharing across WAN connections
- Simple interface for managing wide area networks
- Supports VPNs and other 3rd party services (e.g. firewalls, gateways, optimization controls, etc.)