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‘From: WAN speak’

Another New Year’s Resolution for Network Managers:
I Will Embrace Virtual Network Functions

In my blog near the beginning of the year, I urged network managers to make a resolution to not stick with the status quo when it comes to evaluating and selecting an SD-WAN solution provider, as it will ultimately prove a bad decision for the company and potentially the engineer’s career.  Another resolution network managers must make in 2017 is to embrace the concept of virtual network functions (VNFs), particularly for branch office and remote locations.

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In my last post I focused on how managed SD-WAN service providers can help large, distributed organizations with the complexity of managing dozens of relationships with various broadband providers. This can let a business with hundreds or even thousands of locations enjoy all the financial and performance benefits of SD-WANs without the associated risk of having to find and procure services from a bunch of DSL, cable, Ethernet, or other types of transport providers, since that’s one of the roles to managed service provider will play. This post will focus on the evaluation criteria that decision makers should use when choosing a managed service provider for SD-WAN. Below are what I believe are the top criteria:

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Highly-Distributed Organizations Should Consider
Managed SD-WAN To Accelerate Adoption

There is no company too small or large to take advantage of Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN).  The only requirement is the obvious one that the business be multi-site in nature and is running a WAN that connects the locations together.  However, not all WANs are created equal.

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Earlier this week I wrote this post on the reasons why it is important for network managers to embrace automation. My argument revolved around the fact that network changes can be made much faster and far more efficiently through the use of automation vs. trying to manage the network a device at a time. This is particularly important for the WAN as the network endpoints are located all over the globe and errors can result in lengthy outages. SD-WANs change the networking paradigm and make automation a reality.

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When discussing the value of an SD-WAN, many points enter the discussion. Cost comes up as SD-WANs are certainly cheaper. Delivering a better and more predictable user experience is another reason to adopt an SD-WAN, since users will certainly experience better application performance and, in turn, become more productive. But a third element that’s not talked about as much is the automation that SD-WANs bring to networking.

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