Brian Jackson - Fotolia
Software-defined WAN technology is a popular way to improve connectivity in distributed organizations with branch offices. A wide range of suppliers offer SD-WAN services in different business models and methods of consumption. SD-WAN is available, for example, as an appliance, through software licenses, through SD-WAN as a service and as a managed service. Each purchasing model has its specific benefits and disadvantages.
Managed SD-WAN services
One common approach to SD-WAN is as a managed service. A managed network service is a business model in which networking applications and services are fully outsourced to a service provider. The service provider supplies the hardware, software, networking and transport services required to deliver the application or service, with appropriate service-level agreements (SLAs) for uptime and performance. The managed service provider (MSP) is responsible for monitoring, managing and securing the WAN service. Pricing is typically via a one-year or multiyear service contract, and it's usually based on the number of customer sites, locations, link speeds and related SLAs.
Managed network services are a popular method for IT teams to outsource the headaches of providing connectivity to their branches and data centers. Organizations rely on companies like AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink to run their WANs. MSPs are rapidly adding SD-WAN technologies to their managed services portfolios -- usually in partnership with an SD-WAN technology provider, like Cisco, VMware, Riverbed, Citrix, CloudGenix or Versa Networks.
SD-WAN as a service
Software as a service is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over a network. SaaS is a technology delivery model priced primarily as a monthly subscription. With SD-WAN as a service, the customer is typically responsible for monitoring, managing and changing the SD-WAN service through a cloud-based management portal. The end customer may be required to contract with one or more service providers for WAN connectivity -- like MPLS, broadband internet or 4G Long Term Evolution -- to its branch locations.
SD-WAN-as-a-service customers receive the benefit of having the latest functionality, with easy upgradability through cloud-based management. Customers pay for the features they use and have the agility to increase or decrease the levels of functionality.
Aryaka, Mode and Cato Networks offer SD-WAN-as-a-service offerings that include private WAN connectivity. Many other SD-WAN technology providers offer their software via subscription in a SaaS-like model. Doyle Research expects more as-a-service offering types to be introduced over the next year or so.
Dig Deeper on SD-WAN
Related Q&A from Lee Doyle
Virtual ADCs bring another level of flexibility, authentication and performance monitoring, moving application delivery controllers beyond load ... Continue Reading
Multi-access edge computing provides the processing capacity needed to support the increase of 'things' at the network edge. But for all its promise,... Continue Reading
Software networking can support modern data center requirements, private clouds and accompanying applications. But IT teams need to wade through ... Continue Reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.