Types of SDWAN Deployment Models
One of the biggest trends in the networking industry is the use of SDWAN. It has emerged as the best alternative to the legacy networks and shows potential to connect various offices located all across the world to the resources hosted at data centres and the cloud platforms. It is widely expected that SDWAN with its next generation WAN technology would be able to increase its market share to billions over the next few years. Business organizations, specializing in different avenues, are looking towards the possibilities that are offered by adopting the SDWAN network.
What makes SDWAN attractive?
SDWAN simplifies the procedure of network connectivity to various remote offices and branches, providing the needed flexibility, centralized control and monitoring as well as reducing the WAN costs. The basic features of SDWAN include the ability to:
- Combine various network links that serve a particular location into a single pool of capacity that is available for all applications and services.
- Customize the connectivity and bandwidth to adhere to the needs of network services, locations and users.
- Define and manage policies and network traffic on a central basis that does not involve manual configuration of each device
What are the SDWAN deployment models?
Currently, there are 3 different types of SDWAN deployment models available in the market-Internet-based SDWANs, Managed Services SDWANs, and SDWAN-as-a-Service. In order to choose the best SD-WAN deployment model, one needs to assess various factors such as the performance needs of the users and applications, skill set of the in-house team as well as the ability to manage the SD-WAN infrastructure.
- Internet-based SDWAN: These SDWAN deployment models use appliances at each company location, either behind routers or replacing the routers as branch connections to the internet and the enterprise network. In such a network infrastructure, the network traffic passes through legacy MPLS links or the internet depending on the performance considerations and established policies. The procedure of using the internet for supporting MPLS offers a low-cost, flexible and rapid deployment option, and makes it easier for users to connect to the cloud platforms.
While there are advantages to using this SD-WAN deployment model, the internet use is not too reliable since its performance varies from place to place and latency, packet loss and jitters are far too common in the internet and gets aggravated with increasing distance. It also puts a burden on IT for managing the WAN and one needs to invest considerably in WAN optimization as well as other technologies in order to have a fully functioning system.
- Managed service SDWAN: In this deployment model, business organizations can pay for the deployment of the network to a service provider who handles the deliverance of the connectivity along with any appliances that might be required along with it. While the Managed service SDWAN is, primarily, a value added service, it is deployed using some of the same hardware that is used for the deployment of the internet based SDWAN. This SDWAN model also relies on the public internet to connect the users to various cloud platforms. Therefore, it is a given that when it comes to the user experience and application performance, this model would not be able to fulfill the expectations from the business organizations.
- SDWAN as-a-Service: This implies that the SDWAN deployment model is purchased in a consumption model, just like the cloud computing services are bought. Rather than set up the SDWAN model over the internet or allow a service provider to provide the service, it is better to purchase the deployment model from a next generation network provider who can help to combine the security and reliability offered by a private network along with the flexible, low-cost and easy deployment of the internet for delivering a solution to the connectivity problem.
Businesses stand to gain from this sort of a deployment model because they no longer have to spend on building heavy infrastructure and managing additional hardware at the edge. Instead, organizations can rely on a fast and secure private network, making it easier for the organizations to expand their business over different branches without having to worry about connectivity.
Which SDWAN model is the best for your needs?
Below we highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the 3 types of SDWAN deployment models that are available in the market.
- Internet based SDWAN: This model provides savings in the deployment and operation costs and also monitors the network and application. Since the deployment process is completed within a few days, one has the opportunity for regional deployments.
The negatives of using this sort of a model include weaknesses in the internet connectivity as well as the MPLS network. If there are any global application performance issues, the SDWAN is unable to prevent them from occurring. It also lacks the network component in the SDWAN model.
- Managed services SDWAN: The pros include reliable performance and consistent latencies within the system. One also sees direct IaaS connectivity along with fully managed services within the support that is provided.
The negatives of the model include non-integration of the SDWAN functionality and the greater reliance on the public internet creates problems for greater distances. It might require the users to pay for additional functionality and lack connectivity with the cloud based applications. Managed services SDWAN also lack the WAN optimization.
- SDWAN as-a-Service: It offers a private network connectivity and reliable performance and consistent latencies. This model is also capable of working with all applications such as cloud, premises and SaaS. One has the option of built-in WAN optimization when using the SDWAN as-a-service. This deployment model also allows for the effective monitoring of the network and the applications.
However, the disadvantages of the model include the fact that it is offered only by some of the network providers. It is also not ideal for the IT departments that want to construct network infrastructure.
From the pros and cons of the various deployment models mentioned above, we can derive that the best way to move forward would be to use SDWAN as-a-Service when business organizations are looking towards global network connectivity.