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DIY vs. Managed SD-WAN

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    DIY vs. Managed SD-WAN: Which is Right For Your Business?

    Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) has revolutionized how businesses manage their networks. It offers greater flexibility, better performance, reliable connectivity, and simplified management compared to traditional WAN technologies. When implementing SD-WAN, organizations face a critical decision: should they opt for a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach or choose a Managed SD-WAN solution? In this blog post, we will delve into the differences between DIY vs. Managed SD-WAN, and the benefits of each.

    What is DIY SD-WAN?

    DIY SD-WAN refers to a self-managed approach to SD-WAN implementation where an organization’s in-house IT team is responsible for designing, deploying, configuring, monitoring, and maintaining the SD-WAN infrastructure. In this model, the organization purchases a vendor’s SD-WAN appliances, licenses, and software and leverages its internal resources to manage the network.

    What is Managed SD-WAN?

    Managed SD-WAN involves outsourcing the SD-WAN infrastructure’s design, deployment, and ongoing management to a third-party provider. These providers offer a comprehensive suite of SD-WAN services tailored to the specific needs of their clients. The services typically include SD-WAN appliances, licenses, and software, plus professional services such as consulting, configuration, monitoring, maintenance, and support.

    DIY vs. Managed SD-WAN: A Comparison

    There are several important differences between DIY and Managed SD-WAN. We’ll explore them here.

    Deployment and Configuration

    DIY SD-WAN requires a skilled in-house IT team to handle the deployment and configuration of the SD-WAN infrastructure. This can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, especially for organizations with limited IT resources or expertise. 

    On the other hand, Managed SD-WAN providers take care of deployment and configuration. This allows organizations to focus on their core business functions.

    Monitoring and Maintenance

    With DIY SD-WAN, the organization’s IT team is responsible for ongoing network monitoring, troubleshooting, and maintenance. These responsibilities can be challenging as you must stay current with the latest technologies, security threats, and best practices. 

    In contrast, Managed SD-WAN providers have dedicated teams of experts who proactively monitor and maintain the network and internet circuits. This ensures optimal performance and security.

    Cost and Scalability

    DIY SD-WAN typically involves a higher upfront investment in hardware, software, and licensing. However, it offers greater flexibility to scale the network up or down as needed. 

    Managed SD-WAN usually involves a subscription-based pricing model, with lower upfront costs but potentially higher long-term OPEX expenses. Scalability may also be more limited, depending on the provider’s offerings.

    Benefits of DIY SD-WAN

    Customization and Control

    DIY SD-WAN allows organizations to tailor the network to their specific requirements and maintain complete control over its design, configuration, and management. This control can be particularly beneficial for organizations with unique or complex networking needs, as it provides the flexibility to adapt the network as required.

    Cost Savings

    DIY SD-WAN can lead to significant savings for organizations with skilled IT resources and the ability to manage their SD-WAN infrastructure effectively. By leveraging in-house resources and avoiding the ongoing fees associated with managed services, organizations can achieve a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) over the long term.

    Internal Knowledge and Skill Development

    Implementing and managing a DIY SD-WAN solution allows the in-house IT team to develop their knowledge and skills in SD-WAN technology. Upskilling and experience can be valuable assets for the organization. It ensures a team of experts who thoroughly understand the company’s network infrastructure and can respond to issues quickly and effectively.

    Benefits of Managed SD-WAN

    Simplified Network Management

    One of the primary benefits of a Managed SD-WAN solution is the reduced complexity and simplified network management. The Managed Service Provider takes care of the SD-WAN infrastructure’s design, deployment, monitoring, and maintenance, freeing up the organization’s IT team to focus on more strategic initiatives.

    Expertise and Experience

    Managed SD-WAN providers have dedicated teams of experts who specialize in SD-WAN technology. This expertise can be invaluable for organizations with limited IT resources or expertise, as it ensures that the network is managed effectively and securely.

    Predictable Costs

    Managed SD-WAN services typically operate on a subscription-based pricing model, which provides organizations with predictable monthly costs. Predictable pricing helps to streamline the IT budget and reduce the risk of unexpected expenses.

    When to Choose DIY SD-WAN

    Organizations may benefit from a DIY model solution if they:

    1. Have a skilled in-house IT team capable of deploying and managing the SD-WAN infrastructure.
    2. Require a high level of customization and control over their organization’s network.
    3. Prefer CAPEX budgets.
    4. Seek to reduce long-term costs by leveraging internal resources and avoiding ongoing managed service fees.

    When to Choose Managed SD-WAN

    Organizations prefer a Managed SD-WAN solution if they:

    1. Lack technical expertise in-house to deploy and manage the SD-WAN infrastructure in-house.
    2. Prefer a simplified network management approach, with the MSP handling the network’s design, deployment, and ongoing management.
    3. Seek predictable monthly costs without costly upfront investment.

    Who Are the Key Players in DIY SD-WAN?

    There are several popular DIY SD-WAN vendors in the market, each offering different features and capabilities. Some of the most notable vendors include:

    1. Cisco: Cisco is a well-established player in the networking industry, and its SD-WAN solution, powered by Viptela technology, provides a robust and scalable platform for enterprises of all sizes.
    2. VMware: VMware’s VeloCloud SD-WAN solution is known for its simplicity and ease of deployment. It offers centralized management, application performance optimization, and an extensive ecosystem of service providers and technology partners.
    3. Silver Peak: Acquired by HPE Aruba, Silver Peak’s Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution focuses on optimizing application performance and improving WAN efficiency. It offers features like path conditioning, application visibility, and security through integration with third-party security solutions.
    4. Fortinet: Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution combines the company’s expertise in security with advanced SD-WAN capabilities. This solution offers integrated next-generation firewall (NGFW) features, application-aware routing, and advanced analytics for better network visibility and control.

    Who Are the Key Players in Managed SD-WAN?

    Managed SD-WAN solutions are often offered by a managed service provider or carrier.

    1. Cato Networks: Cato Networks is a cloud-native managed SD-WAN provider that offers a fully converged, global SD-WAN service called Cato Cloud. Their solution combines advanced SD-WAN capabilities with integrated network security features, providing a secure and optimized network infrastructure.
    2. AT&T: AT&T is a leading telecommunications company that offers a comprehensive managed SD-WAN service, leveraging partnerships with various SD-WAN technology vendors such as VMware, Cisco, and Fortinet. Their managed service includes network design, deployment, monitoring, and maintenance.
    3. Masergy: Masergy is a global managed services provider that offers a fully managed SD-WAN solution. They have developed their own SD-WAN technology, focusing on advanced analytics, network visibility, and security. Masergy’s managed SD-WAN service includes design, deployment, and 24/7 monitoring and support.
    4. Aryaka: Aryaka is a cloud-first managed SD-WAN service provider that offers a global, fully managed SD-WAN service. Their solution is built on a global private network and focuses on application performance, security, and network agility. Aryaka’s managed SD-WAN includes network design, deployment, and ongoing management.

    Conclusion: DYI vs. Managed SD-WAN

    With a clear understanding of the critical differences between DIY and Managed SD-WAN, you can decide which approach suits your unique networking requirements. Both options offer advantages and trade-offs, and the right choice will depend on factors such as in-house IT resources, network complexity, and budget considerations.

    Do you want to learn more about SD-WAN services? Brightlio can help.

    Whether you’re looking for a DIY or fully managed deployment model, we will leverage our global network of technology partners to deliver a solution that meets your needs and budget.

    In addition to SD-WAN solutions, we help with other strategic technology initiatives, including colocation, network services, cloud computing, and unified communications. We strive to be your most trusted and most responsive IT solutions provider. We look forward to partnering with you.

    Contact Brightlio today to get started!

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