A holistic approach to SD-WAN adoption

In early March, Telia Carrier expanded our global enterprise portfolio by completing the roll-out of the world’s best connected SD-WAN service.

Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) has been all the rage for a number of years. We’ve all heard about the benefits: Optimizing transport cost with Internet connectivity instead of MPLS. Application visibility. Simplified network management. To be sure, they are real. According to Gartner, by the end of 2019, more than 50% of new managed WAN deployments incorporated SD-WAN and IDC expect that 80% of enterprises will define their SD-WAN strategy within the next 24 months. While most enterprises have been sounding the market, or even conducting pilots, fewer have actually made a radical transformation of their entire network. So why haven’t all enterprises jumped on the bandwagon?

In our latest white paper – “SD-WAN – Big Bang or Smooth Transition?” – we go through our perspective on the barriers to SD-WAN adoption and how to develop a holistic approach depending on the realities of your business. In this blog post, I’ll raise three perspectives and how we have worked them into our SD-WAN proposition.

1. Underlay + Overlay = Quality (with the world’s #1 ranked IP backbone)

No network is stronger than its weakest link. While SD-WAN is a significant leap forward, it can’t deliver the promised results without a reliable, well-connected physical network. According to the Uptime Institute’s 2019 global survey, 31 percent of organizations cited network failure as the primary cause of their most recent data center incident or outage. That’s why the network ‘underlay’ – the combination of infrastructure and service – still matters more than ever. In fact, more than 80% of Enterprises (according to Gartner) will use a hybrid WAN combining MPLS/Ethernet and the Internet in five years’ time.

By working with global Tier 1 providers like Telia Carrier, enterprises can use SD-WAN to scale safely and cost efficiently with the Internet, while securing high-performance connectivity into clouds and on-prem data centers alike. Our Dedicated Internet Access service attaches your SD-WAN service to our #1 ranked Internet backbone (according to Dyn Internet Intelligence), that powers more than 60% of Internet Routes connecting you users more directly than any other network on the planet. Moreover, our direct Cloud Connect provides dedicated, secure connectivity from your sites straight into top cloud providers – such as AWS, Microsoft, Google Cloud, Oracle and IBM – in more than 39 regions worldwide.

2. Managed, Co-Managed or BYO?

There is no “one size fits all” sourcing and management models for SD-WAN. Some enterprises prefer taking back control, whereas others prioritize simplicity. However, what we keep on hearing from enterprises is that service management, fault-finding and troubleshooting continue getting more difficult as the number of partners and possible fault modes increase. Is the problem with my cloud service? My cloud security provider? Or the CPE, last mile or middle mile connectivity? If you have offices in multiple locations and more complex traffic flows; want end-to-end SLAs and support across both the overlay and underlay; and are concerned about how many more partners you can realistically manage, then you should look into a managed or co-managed service.

At Telia Carrier, our only agenda is yours. You can buy our SD-WAN managed (where we design and implement changes for you) or co-managed services (where you manage the daily operations yourself, but access to our experts only being a call away). With our SD-WAN service on your site, you also have access to our modular connectivity platforms, giving you the freedom to pick-and-choose the underlay that fit your needs (such as Internet, MPLS VPNs, Cloud Connect or security features) and flex dynamically between them; even bringing your own access.

3. Self-serve and data as a competitive advantage

Most IT organizations want to focus more of their time on the front-end, directly supporting their businesses and quickly responding to change. Now’s the time to set the right expectation level with your provider. Do you get commercial flexibility to support your evolution or contract lock-in? Can you add, change or remove services on-the-go? Will self-serve portals and APIs help automate daily networking routines? Do you get network insights that put you in the driver’s seat? 

Ensure that your partners’ vision and roadmap align with your own. Forward-leaning service providers like Telia Carrier will give you a clean slate approach and without vested interests or legacy limitations. We price services transparently and have built our MyCarrier portal to let clients buy and manage services online with instant visibility. This gives you agility not only in the overlay, but for the full stack of network services.

Planning for success

Cloud adoption and digital transformation are redefining the requirements of enterprise WANs. With SD-WAN, most enterprises have a perfect opportunity to right-size their networks and rethink the way services are bought, and from whom. When embarking on the next stage of enterprise WAN transformation, take time to define a holistic strategy beyond the SD-WAN hardware. Be confident in the people who will deliver your migration. Even in a software-driven world, networking is still a physical environment that requires the human touch!

With Telia Carrier, you can safely rely on our ability to manage core connectivity, local access, SD-WAN CPEs and configurations if needed – backed by Telia Carrier’s number 1 ranked network, certified experts, industry-leading resolution rates and award-winning customer service. Because networks shouldn’t simply be software-defined, but rather, business-defined.

For a more in-depth exploration of this topic, download a copy of our white paper “SD-WAN – Big Bang or Smooth Transition?,” or go to our SD-WAN landing page and contact us to learn how we can help you on your digital transformation journey.