Cloud IT departments can spend more time on less tedious tasks whenever SD-WAN technology is present. This may reduce the number of IT personnel needed as in some situations their tasks may be reduced to reviewing operation logs and making small corrections when changes to respond to network traffic have problems or timing issues not corrected automatically by the SD-WAN.
Each SD-WAN solution that is offered by several different vendors is unique and mostly proprietary to its design approach. No matter which one you might choose, realize that once you are committed to it, you are limited by any special limitations or idiosyncrasies the one you decide on may have. They are not generally interoperable and will not play well together. Therefore, once you have chosen a particular SD-WAN solution, you are effectively locked into its system. You cannot mix and match different modules from different vendors.
Some vendors of SD-WAN solutions will require that you replace some of your WAN hardware with their proprietary units. Before you buy, get some advice from IT consulting experts and make sure you thoroughly understand the vendor’s replacement and service policy. Hardware replacement depreciation may add unanticipated costs beyond those costs directly associated with the new SD-WAN’s setup. However, some vendors only require you to layer a software solution on your current WAN hardware, obviating that problem.
While we are on the subject of funding, you may find the task of accurately calculating ROI for upgrading to an SD-WAN quite difficult. You might see the savings in operating costs provided by the SD-WAN’s leverage of cheap broadband connections, which in some situations can sometimes reduce private link use to zero, as the obvious ROI. However, if you are locked into a multi-year contract for the private network resources you want to jettison, the provider’s penalty fees for terminating their service may well reduce the actual ROI.
Some of the other benefits of the latest WAN innovations may not be obvious. When the World Trade Center buildings were attacked by terrorists and destroyed on 9/11/2001, some businesses lost their entire companies. That is to say, all the management and most of the workers were murdered, and all their computing and data was destroyed as well, because they had relied on keeping everything safely in the same place, on-site. All the computing and all the data storage was lost, except for old, periodically sneaker-netted offsite backups of data.