Beyond the hype
SD-WAN is beyond the hype phase. Why? Because it has become disruptive enough that big telcos are starting to try and cash in. Not a surprising tactic to try and stop the churn of high margin MPLS products. It is also a given that this technology will be used in a large percentage of businesses in the next few years.
So how do you know that you are getting all the promises of SD-WAN, not a watered down version due to someone elses motivators? The key to this is transparency.
Transparency was a major focus when we designed of SD-WAN service at The Instillery, so we baked in a number of central elements to ensure the service remained about customer outcomes. The below features of the service are are a good way to test whether your SD-WAN provider is on point and has your best interests at heart.
Bring Your Own Connection is a core part of our SD-WAN service. Businesses have existing networks with some very important assets on them. They have existing contracts that may not terminate all at once, or maybe they have a kick-ass deal on mobile data. Whether you have an existing MPLS network or want to leverage your company mobile spend, we are happy to mix and match connections to meet your needs. We’re also really comfortable using UFB business broadband connections because they perform really damn well as long as you are using a reputable ISP. This often unlocks either some great cost savings, or provides a massive service uplift, or covers the cost of a backup connection should there be a fibre cut. Will we sell you connectivity? Yes, absolutely because that is easier for some, however, you remain firmly in the driver's seat when choosing an ISP and connectivity mediums.
For too long business network services have meant you get performance reports on a monthly basis or have to wait days for a change. Co-pilot service is a collaborative service model which gives you and your team the same level of access to the service that our team gets. Sound scary? Of course, that can be read-only for some users, and change access for others, plus all activity is logged. That means there is no place to hide if there are service issues. It also gives you agility and allows us to keep our service costs to you to a minimum. Co-pilot service isn’t something we do just for SD-WAN customers. This is an inherent part of our culture, where we recognise insourcing and outsourcing is too rigid for modern businesses looking to move fast. Side-sourcing puts us alongside your team in a collaborative manner, where we can do as little or as much as you want (including full management).
This is all meant to be easier right? No more steroid infused bodybuilders to rack and stack the kit? No more CCIE network engineers @ $235+ an hour to configure mountains of 80’s routers? The answer is that it absolutely should be. It should be easy to deploy. It shouldn’t need a specialist network engineer onsite to plug it in - same as your home broadband router. And when you want to set policies about which apps go where over your new network, these should be defined in a manner aligned with the business intent. “When the fibre link is down, do not run Windows Update over the 4G connection” or “Youtube isn’t as important to the business as Office 365.” And this is really easy to test actually - ask your SD-WAN provider to deploy a quick POC for you. We’ve done this numerous times for customers, simply plugging into their existing network, and sending a subset of their traffic through the SD-WAN service. If you don’t need a POC, simply see it in action on our customer demo setup.
Plugging it all together
SD-WAN provides a great opportunity for kiwi businesses to simplify their connectivity, and especially access cloud via the fast lane. Over the next three weeks, we will explore more about the connectivity landscape in NZ and how the right underlying connectivity will get SD-WAN humming.