SD-WAN is arguably the next big thing when embarking on your digital transformation journey.
However, according to BCX Chief of Telecommunications Solutions Julian Liebenberg, clients should beware not to overdo the SD-WAN hype. Instead they should consider whether SD-WAN is right for them and weigh the benefits it can offer their business.
To determine whether SD-WAN is right for your business, you should first evaluate whether your business is ready for a digital transformation.
According to Liebenberg a mistake that many make is to think that SD-WAN is a replacement for MPLS, which it is not. “If you aren’t ready for digital transformation, and if your business is satisfied with its security then a traditional secure network like an MPLS network would possibly suit you very well. MPLS networks haven’t suddenly become obsolete.”
If your business environment is predictable, and you believe an MPLS network that you’re designing now will suit your business for the next five years, then it’s still an option.
But the moment that you desire deep insights into application performance, a higher degree of security or bigger agility, that’s when you need to consider SD-WAN. “It’s a starting point. Unless you know you’re going to benefit from the journey and the features of SD-WAN, don’t start the journey,” said Liebenberg.
Only embark on the migration journey if you will truly benefit
Clients that can benefit from the migration to SD-WAN don’t have to migrate everything at once. Instead, Liebenberg says, it can be a phased migration.
The migration is also quite safe in the sense that you can migrate some of the branches and some of the sites, or even some of the areas of the business. “We’ll identify both and then prioritise which sites need to migrate based on which sites will benefit the most,” said Liebenberg.
“We’ve recently helped some clients where the ambition wasn’t actually SD-WAN, but poor-quality network connectivity in remote sites,” said Liebenberg.
“The solution we brought in happened to be SD-WAN enabled, and that was the moving reason to migrate to SD-WAN. A year later the balance of this client’s remaining branches was about 80% of his network. Through this, the client has begun to see the benefits of SD-WAN, as we can exchange the balance quickly and efficiently, and now they’re exploring to expand SD-WAN to the rest of their business.”
Steps to follow in the migration process to SD-WAN
According to Carel Booysen, SD-WAN Executive for BCX, there are a few generic steps that a client may need to follow in the migration journey, which are outlined below:
- Baseline your current network performance.
- Develop a network strategy that will enable digital transformation and enable migration to the cloud.
- Develop a business case.
- Determine network and business requirements.
- Obtain vendor presentations.
- Conduct POC studies to learn about the technology to firm up specifics and make sure it works in your environment.
- Start to consider equipment that will co-exist when you migrate.
BCX offers assistance with your SD-WAN migration journey
BCX uses a structured approach to help clients with their migration by conducting a benefits analysis for the client.
“Currently clients interested in SD-WAN usually have more sophisticated requirements than just switching branch equipment. These requirements usually justify a proof of concept, so only after the analysis phase we approve the concept.”
On successful completion of the proof of concept, BCX prioritises the roll out of SD-WAN and locks in the actual deployment.
Depending on whether the client decides to migrate the underlying network as well, it takes precise timing to coordinate the migration on a per site basis, as these are live client environments.
“We go site by site to migrate the client to metro-Ethernet and coordinate the migration to SD-WAN at the same time,” said Liebenberg.
“We firstly provide the client with the management of the SD-WAN, and then take full ownership of the asset and management layers. The client doesn’t need to purchase the equipment; they only pay for the service. It also doesn’t require a huge capital investment.”
“We also provide the client with network coverage wherever he might need it. That network coverage gives him the choice of Metro-Ethernet or broadband-linked internet type connection. So, it’s a one-stop-shop and we’re able to provide 99% of that requirement in-house,” said Liebenberg.
What makes BCX stand out in above its competitors is that it now offers an SD-WAN suite.
If you are ready to migrate, or need to find out more, visit the BCX website.
This article was published in partnership with BCX.