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Managed SD-WAN: Break through the Noise and Identify True Service Differentiators

Posted on: May 14, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

By Terry Traina, SVP of Engineering at Masergy

As the first step in the SD-WAN education process, channel partners and IT consultants must lead buyers in understanding the market, how solutions differ, and which aspects truly maximize results.

The SD-WAN market is saturated by large providers and small startups, pure SD-WAN equipment manufacturers, and service providers who essentially just resell hardware. With few agile, mid-sized players who deliver a fully-managed service, buyers lack balanced offerings with both proven technologies and superior customer experiences. This gap leaves many CIOs choosing between the service they deserve or the technology they need.

There is a great opportunity for channel partners to act as true consultants, understand the enterprise business needs, and work with providers who can design an agile, secure, and cost-effective Managed SD-WAN solution that optimizes application performance, location, and user needs.

The Technology Differentiation

Comparing solutions requires examination into the underlying infrastructure as well as service quality, agility, and reliability.

  • Built-In Security: Look for solutions with a secure edge architecture where the SD-WAN edge device has built-in security features including next-generation firewalls with unified threat management.

  • Network Architecture and Design Principles: Choose a provider whose entire “backbone” is software-defined. With the entire solution software-defined, virtually every function is programmable for more responsiveness and automation. SD-WAN solutions that are truly embedded and integrated into a software-defined network fabric will deliver reliability and application quality.

  • Transport-Agnostic: Recommend solutions that are truly transport agnostic and can mix private, public, and wireless connectivity to customize access based on the needs of each application, location, and user.

  • SLAs for Cloud Service Interconnections: Inquire about end-to-end SLAs. Many providers offer direct connectivity to cloud services like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and others. But not all of them offer SLAs with that service, which is key for a cloud-first strategy. Cloud SLAs ensure reliable data transport right up until the moment the traffic is handed off to the cloud service, creating a globally consistent experience.

  • Real-time Application Analytics and Controls: Ensure that key business insights including security and application performance metrics are available in real-time and in one integrated dashboard. Due to multiple acquisitions and underlying legacy architectures, most SD-WAN providers are unable to deliver this critical functionality that businesses need to optimize their network.

The Key Customer Experience Questions

Services included with SD-WAN vary wildly among providers, so lead the buyer in understanding:

  • Configuration: Who will be responsible for configuration (before zero-touch devices are shipped)?

  • Implementation: Will the provider have dedicated project management resources to ensure on-time delivery and agile adds and moves?

  • Service Monitoring: Will they provide proactive network and security monitoring 24/7?

  • Maintenance and Security: Who will manage the equipment after deployment and ensure devices/firewalls are updated/monitored from a security standpoint?

  • Customer Experience Metrics: What is their Net Promoter Score and do they have a large referenceable customer base?

Masergy Managed SD-WAN and Business Use Cases

With the integration between SD-WAN and a globally ubiquitous software-defined platform, built-in security and advanced routing features, and real-time analytics, CIOs leverage Masergy SD-WAN to:

  • Support a multi-cloud enterprise that can aggressively migrate applications and services to multiple cloud environments

  • Enhance network performance with global availability, reliability improvements, and competitive IT agility

  • Optimize resource efficiency and cost savings, decreasing the complexity of WAN management through automation and advanced analytics tools