6 Questions to Ask Your SD-WAN Vendor

Cut through the marketing hype with these questions for potential suppliers.

Tom Nolle

August 22, 2017

1 Min Read
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Software-defined WANs (SD-WANs) are quickly gaining popularity, in no small part because vendors are applying them to a bunch of diverse missions -- so diverse, in fact, that users often complain they don't understand the offerings at all. To help cut through the market muck and evaluate your SD-WAN options, here are six questions you can ask your prospective suppliers.

The first question is obvious but often missed: What is the relationship between the SD-WAN and carrier WAN services? SD-WANs could be built over one Internet connection or several, could use MPLS VPNs as an option or not, and might expect other network features to be offered through your network connection. The SD-WAN market is in a state of transition, with some products designed for direct deployment by users and others for cooperative use within a carrier network. If you aren't careful with the network-to-SD-WAN relationship, you could end up with something that just won't work at all.

The second question is a bit more complicated: What is the information connection among the SD-WAN devices themselves? Generally, SD-WAN devices will build a private IP network on top of a set of "tunnels" or virtual wires that pass through one or more WAN services to connect all the SD-WAN devices. The connection mechanism can vary considerably -- for example, offering more or less additional overhead. If you want to manage the SD-WAN pipes using your current device or service management tools, you may want to be sure you're able to get statistics from some source on those connections.

Read the rest of this article on No Jitter.

About the Author(s)

Tom Nolle

President & Founder, CIMI Corporation

Tom is a software engineer and architect with more than 30 years experience in telecommunications and network technology. He has been an independent consultant specializing in telecom, datacomm, media, technology, market forecasting, and regulatory policy analysis since 1979, and CEO of CIMI Corporation since 1982. Tom writes regularly for No Jitter and multiple TechTarget publications, and publishes his own public blog dedicated to telecom, media, and technology strategy professionals. He also creates a series of reports on technology, market, and economic conditions. Most recently, Tom launched CloudNFV, a multi-vendor initiative the ETSI standard for Network Functions Virtualization using principles of cloud computing and the Telemanagement Forum's GB922 Services domain, which grew to become the ExperiaSphere open source management and orchestration project.

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