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SD-WAN Fit Points: Bandwidth and Cost


Adopting or refreshing SD-WAN is a decision you should make only after taking all of the proper considerations into account. Much like bringing a new suit to a tailor to make sure it fits just right, you should also consider a number of fit points when transitioning your enterprise to SD-WAN. In our second post on the fit points of SD-WAN, we’re going to look into two crucial factors for your enterprise: bandwidth and cost.

For bandwidth, a great way to begin is to consider the growing demand driven by media-rich applications that pertain to your business. These can be interactive real-time applications, a growth in the total number of applications, or simply having a network that can monitor traffic and prioritize applications with the greatest need, and all of these contribute to driving an annual bandwidth increase of greater than 20% per year.

The proliferation of IoT and mobile devices in your various branches or store locations is also something to consider. IoT growth areas include high definition multi-purpose cameras for frictionless checkout, loss prevention data, and planogram management. Mobile devices including associate tablets, kiosks, and in some cases, even store robots used for customer engagement and store interactions require additional bandwidth in order to deliver timely and effective interactions for both the customer and employee in-store experience.

Broadband circuits are becoming ubiquitous, and they are delivering much greater capacity—to the point of last-mile Gigabit per second service—and they represent a much greater overall circuit capacity than is available with legacy MPLS circuits. This is one area where reviewing MPLS vs. SD-WAN can be especially rewarding. This is particularly true as you add this to the much lower marginal cost per bit, broadband circuits present a compelling use case for cost reduction in a Managed SD-WAN.

The cost benefits of expanding your bandwidth capabilities brings us to cost as the next fit point to consider for your SD-WAN transformation. When comparing SD-WAN solutions, both underlay and overlay cost must be addressed. By choosing the right SD-WAN solution for your unique business needs, and having it tailored to your specific business practices, it is possible to secure the best fit solution without paying for unnecessary features or capabilities.

The ability to right-size the last mile and reduce the cost incurred by over-provisioning the underlay has an immediate effect on your total cost in this process. Understanding variable overlay costs and how they have the potential to impact your total cost of ownership (TCO) is also key element. This TCO is the cost that impacts every site, every month, for the full term of your agreement, so it needs to be understood and included in the long term planning assumptions.

A 24/7 help desk, or white-glove design and installation, ongoing maintenance and operations, on-site repair, and the support to manage multiple ISP’s and vendors are all pieces of network operations and management that need to fit into the puzzle of a single large cost consideration. All of these also add to the network spend. In fact, these ongoing costs are often 4 to 7x the network underlay circuit costs.

Measuring your enterprise bandwidth needs and cost constraints will provide you with a fuller picture prior to your SD-WAN transformation, and you are much more likely to position your business for success using these tools.

To learn more about other SD-WAN fit points, check out our earlier blog on Security.