Every organisation wants to deploy SD-WAN with minimal disruption to their day-to-day business operations.
We've put together 10 steps for a frictionless SD-WAN implementation. They draw on NTT Communications' experience of deploying the technology for many different companies across multiple sectors.
10 steps to a smooth SD-WAN transition
1. Analyze your IT estate to get "SD-WAN ready"
You need to fully comprehend your IT estate and how it all works together. This includes business applications and associated priorities, traffic patterns and flows, cloud services in use, software-as-a-service models, and how and where to connect to all of these.
2. Combining multiple poor access types does not make a good network
Simply bonding together multiple connections does not make for a quality SD-WAN implementation. If they are poorly thought out and executed, you will be very disappointed. You need to take the quality and capability of the access lines into consideration to ensure that application performance expectations are met.
3. Look at how SD-WAN will integrate into your current infrastructure
SD-WANs do not cover all of the network functionality. You will need to consider how you can integrate SD-WAN into your wider infrastructure during the design process. This analysis should highlight application and protocol usage to better understand routing and bandwidth.
4. Ensure SD-WAN fits into your cloud strategy
Cloud connectivity is a critical issue. Ensure your SD-WAN will operate in your chosen clouds such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. Some SD-WAN solutions will only provide a path to public cloud providers using a central hub-style internet breakout, others only through a local internet breakout. Also these solutions may not be optimized for either latency or performance: or support only a limited selection of cloud providers.
5. Map the connectivity flows of your applications
Mapping the connectivity flow is essential to setting up routing policies for deploying SD-WAN. Establish a detailed design to ensure that available application bandwidth is allocated both fairly and based on predetermined policies. Study your application usage and be clear on routing, bandwidth and performance requirements.
6. Use SD-WAN migration as an opportunity to update your security policies and business best practices
During the design and test phase, it is essential to test your application path steering changes against current and future corporate security and compliance policies. SD-WAN provides a platform for you to make more use of the public internet, but it also brings risks. Using the internet could expose you to hacking or other attacks if the correct protection and practices are not put in place.
7. Carefully plan your deployment and consider running a pilot
An SD-WAN isn't simply about connecting points. An SD-WAN implementation is an intrinsic part of the business and requires greater design and planning than a traditional network. Run pilots to work out any"pain points", determine that the network design supports your required application priorities, and that you are utilizing the correct network access types.
8. Prioritize sites and applications for migration
Prioritize the sites and applications that will benefit most from early SD-WAN migration. Think about where applications are hosted and the key locations in your network. This will help you design your migration plan.
9. Continually monitor your network during deployment phase
A verification and validation of the solution is essential to see how the network will perform under pressure. Also you should monitor the ability for remote branch traffic to leverage both public and private connectivity in an active-active connection mode; verify that business-critical traffic is being steered across the best performing paths across your WAN, while least important traffic makes use of the most cost-effective route.
10. Ensure that you have efficient network monitoring
Use data collected from your SD-WAN monitoring systems to provide full visibility of your WAN and application performance.
Watch the full video of SD-WAN at: http://www.ntt-sdwan.com/videos/ntt-sdwan.