SD-WAN is the talk of the town these days. And rightly so because it’s a fantastic technology that improves application performance by allowing enterprises to broaden the use of faster, less expensive broadband internet services in addition to private MPLS connections while delivering superior end user quality of experience. Unlike traditional router-centric approaches, managing WAN connections is extremely simple – and automated – with SD-WAN. This means less time spent executing complex CLI commands and troubleshooting network impairments. Having said that, if a vendor tells you that this impressive technology is “free,” it raises eyebrows. If it doesn’t, it should. If you are not wondering what’s their endgame, beware, as you could be in for the ride.
To me, the word “free” comes with a fair bit of caution. At first blush, it sounds attractive. But from experience, if something feels too good to be true, it often is. Coming back to SD-WAN, free doesn’t always mean free, and it’s important to look out for hidden costs. It’s important to understand what functionality you’re receiving for “free” and what requires additional licensing for a complete solution. When evaluating any SD-WAN solution, here are a few key questions to consider – or ask of the vendor – to ensure that you have a full picture of what the solution’s capabilities are:
- Does the solution include comprehensive management capabilities, or is an additional license required to support orchestration?
- Does the base solution include end-to-end analytics capabilities?
- If additional network functions are enabled, does the quoted hardware have enough compute and memory capabilities to support them?
An advanced SD-WAN platform provides compelling operational and financial benefits over SD-WAN solutions offering only basic capabilities. For a detailed, quantitative evaluation of your organization’s strategic and operational rationale for investing in Aruba SD-WAN, please reach out to the Aruba Value Management team at firstname.lastname@example.org.