Preparing for software-defined WAN deployment requires substantial research to determine what organizations need...
from their WANs. But with a growing number of options in the market, choosing which SD-WAN vendor to go with can be overwhelming. To help out, the infographic below provides readers with an SD-WAN vendor comparison.
Our editors focused on enterprise SD-WAN technology and only included vendors that directly offer an SD-WAN service to customers -- no middleware or resellers. This vendor comparison does not include fully managed SD-WAN options offered by service providers.
In the chart below, you'll find a side-by-side comparison of 12 SD-WAN vendors -- listed alphabetically -- that addresses a variety of important features to consider, including security, WAN optimization, deployment options, public cloud connectivity and available pricing.
SD-WAN requirements considered givens are not broken down in the vendor comparison. These include the following:
- The SD-WAN platform should create a network overlay that abstracts the existing WAN.
- It should enable dynamic bandwidth allocation for traffic efficiency.
- It should be transport-agnostic and support multiple types of connectivity -- MPLS, Ethernet, cellular and broadband, for example.
Additional questions to ask about SD-WAN technology
When looking for the right SD-WAN option for your company, it's a good idea to add the following questions to your vendor comparison list.
How easy is SD-WAN deployment and provisioning? The majority of SD-WAN vendors say they offer zero-touch provisioning. But even with that, remember, configuration for any organization's deployment will still take some time. It's a question of how much and how easy. Some options may require a few more steps before the SD-WAN connection is established, compared with plugging cables into an SD-WAN device that automatically begins provisioning.
What routing and other protocols does the SD-WAN technology support? Check with each prospective SD-WAN vendor to determine which routing protocols -- such as Border Gateway Protocol, Open Shortest Path First and static routing -- its equipment supports. Also, factor in IPv6 support, if that is an important consideration for your organization. Versa Networks, for example, supports IPv6 addresses, while Silver Peak supports IPv6 forwarding. CloudGenix uses an approach that eliminates the need for routing protocols, but it offers backing for standard routing protocols during a customer transition.
Does the SD-WAN platform require specialty edge devices? Are those devices available in both virtual and physical hardware options? Is the hardware proprietary, or can you use commodity hardware? Also, ask how the vendor's SD-WAN equipment integrates with existing routers and legacy networks.
What are the monitoring, management and reporting capabilities? SD-WAN technology can monitor traffic to help improve application performance and security. Most SD-WAN vendors include management and monitoring capabilities with the SD-WAN platform. Others work with third-party management tools, and some offer additional, more comprehensive software for customers to purchase.
What partnerships does the SD-WAN vendor have in place? Many SD-WAN vendors have established partnerships with security providers, like Zscaler and Palo Alto Networks, to integrate their security services with SD-WAN technology. Also, take into consideration any potential SaaS integration and partnerships the SD-WAN vendor might have.
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