Too much? lol
I'm looking for information from my Netowork and Manager folks on SD-WAN needs and wants. What do you want from a monitoring and or management solution in this area? Where are your gaps currently if you have this implemented? How or where do you feel like SolarWinds could help you out in your everyday environments that have SD-WAN applied?
Let's start a discussion and hash this out, shall we?
Thanks in advance,
I like your topic--specific enough to draw some hope, broad enough to be attractive to many folks. What I want/need in monitoring SD-WAN includes, but isn't limited to:
SD-WAN frequently uses equipment built for Zero-Touch-Provisioning--it can even be synonymous with ZTP on occasion, and that means monitoring must mature to detect and display useful information without intervention or touch by a Network Analyst.
I want to save my organization serious dollars (50%? 80%?) in annual WAN and Internet fees, while simultaneously increasing reliability and up time for my customers' network needs. We're doing this today as part of COVID-19 resource recovery, and it's having great results, but it requires too many man-hours. The future of SD-WAN funding and success means using an NMS to automatically accomplish what we have to do manually today. Things like:
Today I look at a dedicated site-to-site services between my remote offices and see we're spending millions of dollars annually on WAN services. Tomorrow I want to see those services' costs closer to a few hundred thousand dollars. It's being accomplished by shopping for broadband services local to the remote sites, dropping in a Meraki, setting it as the primary path for traffic back to the main office, and leaving the legacy WAN link and hardware in place until that circuit's service contract expires. During that period we have the benefit of a dual-path / dual-provider resilience, and we benefit by having potentially MUCH greater download speeds for the site, at a fraction of the cost of the synchronous business-class WAN service. When contract renewal time arrives, we'll be able to require the business-class service provider lower prices and increase throughput. If they don't, we discontinue that circuit by removing it from the contract, and simply use the broadband. An example:
A remote business office X has a 20Mb xb20Mb business class WAN service to connect to the home office. The service costs $1500/month, or $18,000/year.
I reached out to a local broadband provider in that city and learned they have fiber WAN service already in the building hosting our office X. The provider offered to give us 1G synchronous service for $200/month, or $2,400/year.
I had them set up the new service, I installed a Meraki that sends that traffic to the Internet and to our home office via a VPN tunnel instead of a dedicated path.
Latency increased from 12 milliseconds to 25 millseconds--that's a down side, but we can live with it. WAN costs decreased by 87%. Throughput capability increased by 5000%, enabling them to provide new, more bandwidth-intensive services to their local customers, resulting in greater revenues through gaining more work. The fact that employees stopped complaining about slow file transfers and corporate WAN-based apps was icing on the cake.
Multiply this by 100 sites, or even by 1000 since many of our circuits are much more expensive than this small example site.
We'll be doing more of this cost savings because SD-WAN was designed for it, and because COVID-19 has reduced revenues so dramatically.
As we expand this philosophy and technology at these hundred different sites, we'll combine multiple technologies to enable more resilience and reduce costs while providing improved service to our remote offices and their customers. Maybe we'll use bundled T1's for voice resilience in case of WAN failure. Maybe we'll have G3/G4 cellular services going in the background for remote environmental monitoring. Maybe dedicated Ethernet will remain in play, but will only support corporate apps and large file transfers, with broadband backup solutions ready and waiting for when backhoe fade takes out the fiber (this has been a particularly bad spring for backhoes cutting fiber in my states).
Monitoring of the multiple combinations of WAN service available via SD-WAN should not be a complex and manual process. It shouldn't be expensive in terms of NMS products or licensing or support. It should be SD-NMS. Automated, flexible, intuitive, easy, and it should happen in the background, out of sight.
But monitoring SD-WAN, even deploying it, won't happen if we can't look at trends from recent years and extrapolate them into the future. With solid data, funding can be made available. Or, with solid data, funding can be reduced. Meaning Service Providers must provide more with less, the same way we do more with less today.
That's what I really-really want. Improved throughput and resilience, lower network costs, and an SD-WAN NMS that does it for us without having to devote more Network Analyst hours to set it up the first time, and to keep it running smoothly indefinitely.
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