The world we live in now, is being driven by the explosion of data. With every passing day, the data traffic increases and creates new challenges to manage the infrastructure. Cost Optimization and Service Delivery are the two critical pain points of any organization. In the domain of network connectivity, SD-WAN provides bandwidth efficiency with lower cost and seamless communication. The key benefit in comparison to standard WAN, is its significant application performance without compromising the data privacy and security.
To implement SD-WAN we can either do it in-house i.e., ‘DIY’ or hire professionals i.e., ‘Managed’. Both have their own pros and cons, depending upon the usability and size of the traffic using it. This article addresses pros and cons of each approach and leaves it to the reader to decide for themselves as to what suites their organization.
‘DIY SD-WAN’ can be a great option for an organization which has a strong in-house IT capability and is more concerned about data security.
Advantages of DIY SD-WAN:
- Full control on design and implementation.
- Highly customized for the needs of one’s organization.
- Full utilization of in-house IT resources which might understand the organization security needs better than any outsourced provider.
- No challenge for any country or local regulations impacting the 3rd party contracts
- Highly regulated industries with a lot of third party data such as finance, might need strict compliance.
Disadvantages of DIY SD-WAN:
- In case of troubleshooting, the DIY model might not have quick resolution due to the limited experience.
- Higher engagement of IT team is required and there could be a need to keep on adding more resources with the advancement of technology.
- Selection of SD-WAN software or devices can be challenging at times to ensure business objectives.
- It could be difficult to adjust with the change of networking needs over time.
- Hiring own IT staff with specific skills can be expensive and it may even be harder to find such resources.
- Higher turn-around time for any change in the network.
- Providing the 24/7/365 help desk across all branches or regions.
- Higher number of equipment providers in order to not spend more for extra bridging technologies from different providers.
The DIY model gives organizations full control over their networks, but at the same time it is limited based on the ability to utilize within its boundaries. This model is best suited for bigger organisations who already have an in place IT department with complete set of technical knowledge and can deploy and configure these networks in given time. With this model, organizations will also be responsible for monitoring and maintaining their own equipment and devices along with all software requirements for the network. Having more than one provider can create disruption in the day-to-day workings of the SD network which can increase the trouble shooting time as well. Hence, it is usually a decision to make for larger organizations whether to outsource or do it in-house. The smaller and med-sized organizations straight forwardly outsource due to lack of technical expertise.
On the other hand, the ‘Managed SD-WAN’ is a great option where organizations want to use their focus on their core business. Also to free up their IT personnel to focus on other important and strategic technology initiatives to achieve business objectives.
Advantages of Managed SD-WAN:
- Smaller organizations makes the best of hiring capable hands for managing the SD-WAN.
- Reduces the uncertainties and labor intensive elements out of the SD-WAN management.
- Single contact point can save a lot of time.
- Providers have dedicated professionals with the right set of training and experience.
- In-Depth experience of designing and maintains the network with optimal performance.
- Organizations can get benefit from the central management portal of the providers to make changes instantly.
- Higher agility by connecting with engineers and operational staff to assist with network policy configuration.
- Businesses having OPEX model can save a lot of money by using this model.
Disadvantages of Managed SD-WAN:
- Although the providers have strict policies for data security but still it’s not the highest data privacy measure.
- Dependability of 3rd party provided can be frustrating at times.
- In case of any conflict the situation might take longer to resolve.
- Organizations might need to restrict to the capabilities of the provider.
- Providers do not normally change their processes for any single vendor.
Having technical deployment through experts is the best thing for any organization. SD-WAN providers in this case will not only provide the equipment but also those experts who can deploy it best. These providers can add much more value to the smaller entities as they might not have any technical expertise in-house or not even an IT department. Providers deploy and install all the devices and manage them at the same time. They will be responsible for the procurement of required links from other service providers and manage the everyday operations. Clients can have a single contact point which can reduce the man hours of the organization to invest for the management of SD-WAN. Let alone the benefit of handling the trouble-shooting is more than enough for any organization to consider hiring the managed services.
Whatever options one may have there is always a middle ground for everything. In the case of DIY and Managed services, few organizations also try to create a mix and match of both models. The provider and client co-manage the network. They have control on generating the applications and security policies for whatever they intend to with the network. The service provider becomes responsible for handling the connectivity and manage the customer experience along with providing guarantees. With this model both the parties can bank on the expertise of each other without compromising the data privacy. Not all service providers might feel comfortable with this, as the whole network being managed by two parties can bring its own problems at times. Nevertheless, still this hybrid model combines the strengths and brings in compliance.