In this  series to date we have talked about the drivers for SD-WAN, the main features and related benefits and also looked at how to overcome some of the more common obstacles with adoption and deployment.

This week we will delve a little deeper into one of the main choices to be made when looking at SD-WAN deployment – whether to build and run the network in house (Self Managed) or if it is better to have a third party provide this on behalf of your company (Managed SD-WAN).

But first a quick Recap:

Digital transformation and the repositioning of business-critical applications to the cloud brings with it many network challenges for enterprises. As a result, the nature of the network is growing more complex for all enterprises. Among the biggest networking complaints is Quality of Service/Quality of Experience (QoS/QoE) with poorly performing applications such as UC disrupting business and giving rise to application performance and prioritisation requirements.

SD-WAN has emerged as the go-to solution for re-architecting the enterprise network to overcome these challenges and  facilitate digital transformation objectives such as cloud migration. Key reasons for adopting SD-WAN include:

  • Visibility of which applications, users or devices are consuming bandwidth
  • Control over how application traffic flows are routed
  • Applying policies to suit specific requirements and demands of the respective applications
  • Resilience on an active-active basis across multiple links on a per application priority basis
  • Secure sophisticated encryption to ensure the integrity of data on the network

SD-WAN Deployment Choices

There are many SD-WAN solutions and many go-to-market models.

This had led many organisations to focus too heavily on trying to acquire and integrate  in-house complicated expensive solutions that in many cases do not meet all key requirements.

It is important, rather than taking a technology first approach, to focus on choosing a solution based on how it serves specific enterprise network demands and can be deployed quickly without significant upfront infrastructure and personnel costs.

Early SD-WAN adopters typically followed the self-managed approach and while many still operate that way with the more successful being those larger enterprises  with strong in house capability to design, deploy and operate an SD-WAN.

More recently and as the technology becomes more mainstream, we are seeing a shift to the Managed SD-WAN approach. This approach, which is catered for by Iricent’s SD-WAN Managed Service,  addresses, in particular,  the needs of SMEs who do not have the  resources to build and operate the networking infrastructure required.

A Managed SD-WAN service, by enabling organisations to outsource the design, deployment and operation of their network under an SLA, typically for a monthly fee, allows those organisations to experience the benefits of SD-WAN whilst minimising the commercial and technical risks.

Managed SD-WAN and the road to SASE

Regardless of the approach, it should be clear by now that a modern organisation can only really have its IT requirements properly served if the underlying network is sufficiently flexible and adaptable to meet the ever changing needs while maintaining the required level of security.

The Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), coined by Gartner to describe what is essentially the combination of Managed SD-WAN and Security as a Service and for which SD-WAN is the logical all important starting point, is moving the discussion forward quickly and will be the focus of the last in this blog series next week.

For now and as always, if you would like more information on any of the above or SD-WAN in general, contact us at: or on Twitter @Iricent