SD-WAN Deployment Models

Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) creates a virtual network on top of physical infrastructure, making it easier to define and optimize a corporate Wide Area Network (WAN), especially as corporate networks become more distributed and connected to cloud applications and services. Here we discuss three primary options for SD-WAN deployment: do-it-yourself (DIY), managed SD-WAN, and partnering with a managed service provider (MSP).

Learn More SD-WAN Buyer’s Guide

How it Works

SD-WAN can be deployed via appliances, physical or virtual, that are located on-premises and in the cloud to connect an organization’s users to their infrastructure consisting of workloads, applications and services. SD-WAN abstracts network elements to optimize communications across the network.

The SD-WAN solution chooses the optimal path for network traffic across multiple available transport media options such as broadband Internet, MPLS and mobile wireless. When an SD-WAN appliance solution receives traffic, it routes this traffic to its destination based on predefined rules. For example, traffic with high performance requirements, such as videoconferencing, might be given priority or routed over low latency MPLS links back to corporate headquarters. Cloud services may be routed directly to the Internet over one or more Internet Service Provider (ISP) links.

How Can SD-WAN Help Your Organization?

SD-WAN provides an organization with the ability to define, manage and optimize a corporate WAN infrastructure. Some of the benefits of SD-WAN include:

  • Performance: SD-WAN solutions continuously monitor the health of various transport media and various types of application traffic to optimally route traffic over the corporate WAN. This helps to ensure that traffic with high network performance requirements meets these requirements.
  • Reliability: SD-WAN aggregates multiple different transport media, such as broadband Internet, MPLS, and mobile networks. If one of these links fails, then the SD-WAN solution seamlessly reroutes the traffic to another link for reliable network connectivity to corporate applications.
  • Cost: SD-WAN is often offered as an alternative to expensive MPLS links. By optimizing the use of multiple forms of transport media, SD-WAN can enable organizations to achieve high performance and reliability with less expensive media and optimize their MPLS investment.

SD-WAN Deployment Models

Companies can deploy SD-WAN under a few different models. The primary options are do-it-yourself (DIY), managed SD-WAN, or partnering with a managed service provider (MSP).

DIY

Organizations can design and implement their own SD-WAN infrastructure by deploying SD-WAN solutions at each location in the corporate network and connecting them via available network links. Some of the advantages of DIY SD-WAN architectures include:

  • Existing Talent: If an organization has an in-house network team capable of deploying SD-WAN, a DIY SD-WAN architecture enables them to take advantage of this talent. Additionally, in-house personnel likely have a deeper understanding of the corporate IT network and the company’s networking and security needs.
  • Greater Customization: DIY installations provide greater support for customization than managed offerings. This allows an organization to tailor solutions to its specific IT infrastructure or regulatory and security requirements.

Managed

Some service providers offer Managed SD-WAN or SD-WAN as a Service. Some of the benefits of SD-WAN as a Service deployments include:

  • Easy Deployment: Managed SD-WAN service providers have an existing solution stack and process for deploying it. This makes it fast and easy to roll out SD-WAN solutions within an organization’s environment.
  • Optimized Infrastructure: Often, SD-WAN as a Service providers have an optimized or dedicated back-end that links their SD-WAN points of presence (PoPs). This can provide more reliable and high-performance connectivity than Internet-based solutions.
  • Consumption-Based Model: Like other “as a Service” solutions, managed SD-WAN often works on a consumption-based model. This can result in a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than other options in some cases.

MSP

Telecoms and other managed service providers (MSP) commonly offer SD-WAN as part of their portfolio. Some of the advantages of MSP SD-WAN deployments include:

  • Managed Deployment: With an MSP, the service provider is responsible for deploying and configuring the SD-WAN architecture. This may be necessary for companies without the in-house talent to deploy and configure an SD-WAN architecture.
  • Service-Level Agreements (SLAs): MSPs offer services that are backed by SLAs. This helps to guarantee a certain level of reliability and performance from the SD-WAN infrastructure.

Choosing the Right Deployment Option for Your Business

SD-WAN can be deployed under various different models, and the right choice for an organization depends on its needs and resources. An enterprise with an established network and security team and unique needs may be best served by a DIY SD-WAN architecture. In contrast, smaller businesses may find that managed SD-WAN better suits their needs.

SD-WAN with Check Point

By themselves, SD-WAN solutions provide optimized routing between the various SD-WAN PoPs. However, they don’t inspect and secure the traffic that flows over these links, and optimized routes may not pass through datacenter security architectures.

To take full advantage of the network optimization offered by SD-WAN, companies need SD-WAN solutions with integrated network security. If you want to learn about the features you should be looking out for in a secure SD-WAN solution, you’re welcome to review this buyer’s guide.

Check Point provides multiple options for companies looking to secure their SD-WAN deployment. Find out more about Check Point Quantum SD-WAN in its early availability program. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) integrates SD-WAN with a full security stack.

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