How Managed Service Providers are Leveraging SD-WAN
“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.” – Richard Branson
The days of Managed Service Providers updating PC’s, servers, and running backups are long gone. The cloud has changed the way businesses are using the Internet. VoIP is a mainstream technology. Printers, scanners, and copiers are now smart devices on the LAN. As more and more devices become “connected,” the demand on the MSP to be able to manage these devices has increased exponentially.
MSPs are now touching things like voice and wireless devices like never before. While the LAN is still their primary domain, many of the forward-thinking Managed Service Providers have begun educating themselves on technologies they wouldn’t have five years ago. They’re partnering with VoIP providers and interfacing with carriers. They’re integrating cloud applications on wireless devices, and becoming more savvy with everything data security related. They see the writing on the wall and know if they’re not able to provide advanced service options to their clients, there’ll be a long line of competitors right behind them who can.
It’s because of this need to understand how their clients are using the cloud and the internet that MSPs have begun to leverage WAN technologies, specifically, SD-WAN. While relatively new in the WAN space, SD-WAN is already proving to be the migration path of the future.
As it relates to telecom, it used to be that the MSP would act as a go-between from client to carrier, ensuring the data connections in place would be able to adequately serve the client’s needs. The MSP might handle tier one support on telecom-related issues, or open support tickets with the carrier during an outage. The MSP didn’t really have a lot of say in how the telecom services were deployed or provisioned.
Now with the advent of SD-WAN, that’s all changing. Savvy MSP’s who have educated themselves know the benefits of SD-WAN, and they’re using it to their (and their client’s) benefit. Here’s how:
- Cost – Most MSPs these days work on a recurring revenue model. Services are contracted and payed for by the client monthly. The MSP is then able to better forecast cash flow and package services which complement the model. Until now, the telecom budget was a separate line-item, and often an expensive one, especially for clients with multiple offices and locations. SD-WAN has opened the door for MSPs to better integrate their services with telecom services. They’re using SD-WAN as a way to leverage telecom cost alongside their services. If their client is using an expensivededicated MPLS loop, with using SD-WAN the MSP can now recommend a business class broadband connection to replace the expensive dedicated line without the worry of a degradation in quality. With the reduction in cost on the telecom side, MSPs provide value to the client and (with the right partner) can integrate SD-WAN services into their product offerings.
- Visibility – In much the same way Nagios monitors the LAN, SD-WAN monitors the WAN. MSPs can see the network in a way that’s been prohibitive until now. With SD-WAN, MSPs can troubleshoot connectivity issues with the carrier without interrupting the client’s connection. They can monitor QoS and set rules which allow for real time diverse path options.
- Scalability/Flexibility – Because of its dynamic architecture, SD-WAN is extremely scalable and flexible. It can be used on top of existing MPLS networks in a hybrid mode. Moving and accessing cloud-based applications is easier. SD-WAN supports unique network architectures and broadband or dedicated connections can be easily added as the client’s needs increase.
Managed Service Providers embracing SD-WAN now are setting themselves up for big wins down the road. Thinking outside the box and looking at how SD-WAN technology can enhance their users experience is what’s going to set them apart from their competition.
Contact an N2Net professional today and learn about partnering with us to provide your clients an SD-Wan solution today.