Tips and tricks for a successful SD-WAN

Early adopters share their secrets for achieving cost savings and performance benefits.

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Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology promises enterprises true transport independence and flexibility. SD-WAN adopters can turn to any transport protocol -- 3G, 4G LTE, MPLS, Internet or Wi-Fi -- to provide the best cost and performance benefits for specific applications.

IDC last year predicted that the SD-WAN market could reach $6 billion by 2020, fueled by its efficiencies and cost savings. Yet many organizations continue to avoid the technology, fearing that deployment issues will create new headaches in performance, reliability, security, staff training and other key areas.

John Shaffer, CIO at Greenhill & Co., a New York-based global investment bank, says that such fears are generally unwarranted. "I found it to be one of the most painless experiences that you could ever have," he says.

Like many SD-WAN adopters, Greenhill turned to the technology to solve a specific problem. For Greenhill, the issue was MPLS connectivity snags at some of its overseas branch offices. "SD-WAN began as a backup and then we started to realize this really can be the primary approach; you can leverage MPLS into your overall SD-WAN adoption," Shaffer says.

Shaffer was impressed by how well the Viptela SD-WAN worked and how easy it was to deploy. "SD-WAN has the opportunity to displace MPLS networks, and that’s the direction I'm moving toward right now," he says.

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