What problems does SD WAN create?
A number of SD WAN CPE vendors want to take the credit for the cost savings of Hybrid Networking without accepting the responsibilities for its DIY shortcomings.
The challenge of managing SD WAN yourself
If SD WAN helps you swap your expensive international MPLS connection with locally bought internet at a fraction of the price (not always true!) then they are also suggesting that you become your own Managed Service Provider to scour the local market, order, install, support and bill that circuit.
It takes a great deal of in-country expertise and effort to achieve and support this and hope that the local teams maintain records and pass on the local contacts and knowledge.
You’ll need carrier savvy IT staff in every office or at the least, region. It’s very easy to compare the cost of international MPLS against local internet circuits but more difficult to quantify the management overhead both locally and centrally of having multiple providers.
Carrier-delivered SD WAN can make it harder to get the benefits you seek from Hybrid WAN
A recent development of SD WAN is a move by the carriers to incorporate SD WAN with their connectivity. The logic on this is sound – once the carrier’s systems are integrated with SD WAN CPE devices, customers will be able to get a quote to change their bandwidth and then the systems will make changes to the network as well as the router at the same time. This is something that the SD WAN CPE vendors can’t do because they don’t supply the connectivity.
The downside of this approach for customers is that it goes against one of the potential advantages of Hybrid Networking: which is that you can connect each site with the best carrier and technology. For example, you could buy a local internet connection to make considerable savings over International MPLS.
Are there really benefits of SD WAN versus MPLS?
If you have a primarily UK based network then the cost differential between MPLS and Internet may not really exist. It depends who has supplied your MPLS and Internet.
If you do have international sites, a better solution may be to use a Managed Services Providers who can integrate several carrier networks to give you the best pricing, performance and delivery speed at every site.