Mastering the transformation to SD-WAN in three steps
The continuing path of digitization makes increasing demands on companies networks with area’s like cloud connection and bandwidth availability being high priority. The Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) overcomes these challenges by means of centralized network management and simplified, secure cloud connectivity
. According to Gartner Inc.’s consultants, now the hype regarding SD-WAN has passed, it is time to look at the real productive benefits that it brings. In order to make a smooth transformation to SD-WAN then three steps will need to be considered:
1. The SD-WAN strategy: understanding the requirements
SD-WAN planning starts with the understanding and definition of the corporate objectives to be achieved by the move. How much bandwidth will be required, what network technologies are to be considered, how will you utilize IoT
and who are your chosen cloud service providers? A migration partner can help to translate these requirements into an SD-WAN design. To do so they will need network, cloud, security
, and application competences.
Financial considerations also flow into the planning. It is not always worthwhile to switch to SD-WAN technology entirely. In these cases, companies will then also require a gateway that will enable the new SD-WAN to communicate with the legacy network environment.
2. The SD-WAN architecture: modular and integrated
- The transport networks: For the migration to SD-WAN, the underlay transport networks needs to be considered. For example, the bandwidth required for cloud connectivity must be sized according to the anticipated throughput. The SD-WAN overlay may help to identify bottlenecks, however the problem must be solved in the underlying transport network.
- The SD-WAN platform: As the SD-WAN overlay is the service’s technological core, it must be both stable and future-proof. That is why T-Systems collaborates only with best in bread SD-WAN providers that are proven to be technically capable and financially stable.
- Complementary services such as security and the cloud: A high level of data security can only be maintained if network and security services are closely coordinated. This is best achieved if the same provider supplies them both. The cloud and the network are interdependent too. The SD-WAN connects public clouds securely with corporate locations. The SD-WAN’s central management components in turn are themselves located in the cloud.
- A service team with end-to-end responsibility: Network stability is crucial for all businesses. Where the underlying transport network and the SD-WAN overlay are provided and managed by different entities then this incurs a management overhead for the business. Coordinating two or more carriers can be a complex task for IT teams. Simplification can be achieved when one network operator provides and coordinates all of the modules.
3. The migration: step by step and secure
The last step is the actual migration from the traditional WAN to the SD-WAN. T-Systems recommends migration based on the LUCI principle. The company and the migration partner first plan the design of the new network (its Layout), then ensure that the hardware required is in place on-site (Update CPE), divide the network layout into segments (Creation of Segments) and finally implement the new network layout segment by segment (Implementation). In this way risks can be identified early, and any potential disruptions can either be prevented or limited to specific parts of the network.