If you are an IT decision-maker embarking on the cloud for digital transformation, you will eventually be faced with the inevitable question of modernizing the enterprise WAN network. Navigating the maze of SD-WAN vendors and comparing them can be daunting. It is important to note that SD-WAN is not merely a box or an off the shelf product that can be plonked into your existing network. It is a solution that is made up of multiple elements. These elements must interwork and co-exist with other initiatives like cloud migration, etc.
Technical differences apart, there are also differences in the business and operational models. Some of the questions that you must ponder are:
- DIY Approach – Are you buying the hardware from multiple vendors and integration the solution in-house?
- Carrier Services – Are you planning to buy the service from an SD-WAN communications service provider?
- Fully Managed SD-WAN as a service – Are you opting for the best of both worlds and taking the fully managed SD WAN as a service route?
Breaking down the SD-WAN vendor ecosystem provides a view that standard industry reports do not readily divulge. Most analyst reports tend to compare SD-WAN vendors with other vendors, and service providers with other companies in the same category. This approach tends to be very one dimensional. Decision-makers are not only interested in comparing vendors but also comparing their operational and commercial models.
Vendors for the DIY Approach
Most traditional SD-WAN vendors fall into this category. Some of the leading names in this category are Cisco, VMware, HPE, Juniper, etc. Taking the DIY approach works for huge organizations with massive IT and Networking teams. Even for such organizations, pulling all the elements together can be time-consuming, taking anywhere from 6 months to a year.
For most mid-sized and small organizations, this approach is impractical.
Vendors for the Carrier Services Approach:
The DIY approach is complicated, expensive, and takes time to deploy, thus prompting many organizations to consider a ‘carrier’ managed solution.
Key vendors in the space include Verizon, Masergy, Century Link, BT Business, etc. These are traditional MPLS service providers who have evolved to offer SD-WAN services. Compared to the DIY approach, carriers reduce the complexity of deploying an SD-WAN network. But, they tend to lock in the customer into their last-mile solution and are sometimes hard to deal with.
Carriers build their networks by bundling together multiple hardware elements from box vendors. Such an approach makes it difficult for them to provide an end-to-end view of network performance. Many carriers operate within their region; thus, international connectivity requires complex inter-carrier agreements. Ensuring Day-1 SLAs in this complex environment is virtually impossible.
Aryaka’s Fully Managed Cloud-First SD-WAN – Consume Rather than Construct
Aryaka’s fully managed SD-WAN is designed for the Cloud-First era. Most organizations are in the midst of their cloud and digital transformational journey. Digital transformation has a significant impact on the volume, velocity, and variety of WAN traffic.
This transformation requires a fundamental rethink of the WAN infrastructure, both from a technology and business model perspective. Until now, enterprises were forced to choose between the traditional WAN vendor-based approach and the legacy managed service providers, each with their limitations.
Aryaka is one of the few vendors in the market with in-house feature-rich SD-WAN hardware and a dedicated layer two core network with Points of Presence ( PoPs) in all key business locations worldwide. This unique architecture enables Aryaka to offer Day-1 SLAs, reduce deployment time to a few weeks, and out-of-box connectivity to leading cloud service providers.
The SD-WAN vendor landscape is not a monolithic one. Apart from the hardware differences, there are also differences in the business model, mode of consumption, and architecture. These differences require the decision-maker to look well beyond the usual suspects (the box vendors and carriers) and make a holistic evaluation of the entire vendor space. There is no one size fits all solution, and the specific answer will depend on several factors.