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How to avoid surprises in your SD-WAN journey

08/04/2021 by Arjen Hoekstra

A split image showing a palm at a beach in the left half, and a crowded parking space in the right half.

When planning my summer holiday for 2021, I had to look back on how I did this in the past. I would go to the travel agency and bring a few travel guides home. Based on some pictures and brief descriptions, I’d then select what would appear to be a nice destination. Upon arriving at the location a few months later, I would often feel disappointed – the “sea view” that the hotel touted in the brochure could only be admired from the rooftop, whereas second floor guests like us had a window overlooking the parking lot instead.

Thankfully, there are now videos, online tours, and many other ways for you to experience elements of your holiday online before committing to the purchase. Similar changes have occurred in the world of WAN marketing.

Until a few years ago, MPLS was the standard for most company networks. Today, there is a broad range of SD-WAN solutions available. As you look for the solution that fits your specific company requirements, planning your SD-WAN journey is key to ensuring that you don’t encounter unpleasant surprises down the line:

  1. Review your business, cloud, and security strategy and gather your current requirements and expectations

  2. Investigate the SD-WAN market and select your preferred SD-WAN solutions

  3. Get acquainted with the SD-WAN technology

  4. Verify the solution and its benefits at a limited scale by a Proof of Value

  5. Deploy the solution at full scale in a controlled way

This 5-step approach may look simple but how to avoid unpleasant surprises along the journey? The second step in particular – navigating the jungle of SD-WAN solutions available – may require you to seek assistance.

To become acquainted with SD-WAN technology, your network, and technical experts might want to test out the solution live via a hands-on workshop or demo. Instead of simply reading the travel guide, you may want to consult a 1:1 visualization of the hotel room or have a 3D virtual tour through your holiday destination. The same applies to SD-WAN: gain some experience with the technology before considering a full-scale rollout.

Experts will walk you through the main elements of the SD-WAN solution so you can answer the following questions firsthand:

  • How do the SD-WAN orchestration and management tooling look and feel?
  • Is it really that easy, Zero Touch, to deploy a new location?
  • Can I move to an Internet Underlay and what happens if the quality of my internet connection is poor?
  • What level of insight in my application performance do I get? What exactly is visible to me?
  • How do users connect to cloud-based applications and how do I guarantee application performance?

Based on this experience, you can move on to the next step in your SD-WAN journey, which is the Proof of Value stage. Instead of relying on the travel guide’s pretty pictures and slick descriptions, you can decide based on your own experience. Setting the proper groundwork will ensure that you have a great travel experience at the destination of your dreams.

How are you planning your SD-WAN journey? Totally relying on specialist-curated guides a-la old-school travel planning? Or would you rather gain some hands-on exposure beforehand? If the latter is the case, don't hesitate and gain this firsthand experience by booking a demolab session.

Do you want more insights from smart connectivity and network professionals?

Arjen Hoekstra

CTO Connectivity Services and Senior Sales Consultant at Deutsche Telekom Global Business Solutions Netherlands