Why Visibility Plays a Critical Role in SD-WAN

Posted on: July 17, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

by JP González

Cloud-based and mobile apps put traditional networks to the test by making last-mile connectivity a mission-critical component. And, with 83% of enterprise workloads expected to run in the cloud by next year1, the need for a network that can properly support a fluctuating mix of bandwidth-intensive applications all but guarantees SD‑WAN is here to stay.

Much has been said about the complexity sometimes associated with a successful SD‑WAN deployment. However, we hear less talk about another critical factor in maintaining a successfully deployed solution—namely, visibility.

Unlike their traditional counterparts, modern networks are not intended to be static. The days of “set it and forget it” are fast becoming a distant memory. The mission‑critical modern network calls for real-time network path conditioning and continuous policy evaluation to ensure an optimal application experience. Network and application performance can vary depending on the number of applications running, sites connected, service providers in place and individual user behaviors. Visibility can help monitor link reliability, application performance and user demands for the aggregate business or in varying granularity levels—crucial to understanding the operational impact of the SD-WAN.

The digital experience of SD-WAN

This is where the SD-WAN digital experience comes into play. When working with service providers, there is a patchwork of available tools and interfaces for monitoring, configuration, and analytics. Monitoring and configuration control are essential to the long-term success of the SD-WAN. Therefore, it’s important to consider whether the SD-WAN you deploy gives your IT department the tools it needs to effectively manage the network or whether it becomes an administrative burden with negative implications on your IT workload, security, end-user, and customer experience.

When considering an SD-WAN solution Windstream Enterprise recommends you ask some key questions about the digital management and analytics capabilities available.

Monitoring visibility

  • Can you create a customized dashboard to view what’s important to you?
  • Does it show how much bandwidth your apps consume by location and device?
  • Can you monitor the performance of every access connection?
  • Can you create customized reports to view the history of bandwidth usage for troubleshooting and upgrade planning?
  • Do you have visibility from your mobile devices?

Configuration control

  • Is it secured by multi-factor authentication?
  • Do you have admin rights to make modifications to your settings on your own via any desktop or mobile device?
  • Can you rate limit or block unauthorized apps?
  • Can you modify business rules to prioritize apps?
  • Can you modify security policies by location, group or end-user?
  • Can you quickly implement configuration changes to all locations?

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