Your SD-WAN Roadmap

Everything you need to get you up and running with SD-WAN
Brought to you by Daisy and Cisco Meraki What's all the buzz about? Reinventing the Wheel… in a good way! Simple | Agile | Flexible | Optimised

What's all the buzz about?

Imagine a network that evolved in line with your needs, saved your employees time and had a zero-risk approach to security – all while reducing your business’ carbon footprint and overall spend. What if you could do all of this AND take full control of all of your business’ networks from one centralised portal with a simple software solution?

Enter SD-WAN.

Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is, as the name would suggest, a software-defined approach to configuring and managing wide-area networks (WANs). Simply put, you can think of it as air traffic control for your networks. As an air traffic controller, you have full view of hundreds of WAN connections from multiple global locations. At your command, traffic can be directed, diverted and deployed safely to its intended destination; keeping your business’ traffic flow running smoothly and securely.

SD-WAN, in essence, is the technology that simplifies the operation and management of the many network connections between sites in an organisation. This enables improvement of application performance, resulting in enhanced user experience, increased business productivity and reduced costs for IT.

The market for SD-WAN remains hot as many organisations are deploying the technology to solve WAN bandwidth limitations, provide reliability/resiliency and improve quality of user experience for cloud-based applications. What’s more, dozens of suppliers are rapidly innovating and maturing their SD-WAN products with innovations in cloud, support for leading SaaS applications, security, and management/automation platforms.

Leveraging the power of Cisco Meraki, Daisy’s SD-WAN solution uses software running in the cloud and a centralised control function to securely and intelligently direct traffic across the WAN, providing simplicity at an organisational level, and guaranteeing flexibility and control, as well as facilitating a predictable application experience.

That’s what all the buzz is about.


Is SD-WAN the future?

Arguably so.

New business models are to thank for driving the need for new network models. And as a result of this drive, a change in WAN usage requires new topologies.



Reinventing the Wheel… in a good way!

56% of network managers are now seeking the ability to centrally monitor and manage traffic and remotely provision their WAN. And, teamed with the ever-increasing use of cloud storage and backup, as well as software as a service (SaaS), unified communications (UC) and file sharing, this means that the conventional hub-and-spoke WANs are becoming less and less compatible.


So, SD-WAN is simply a better approach to network connectivity that lowers operational costs and improves resource usage for multi-site deployments. Armed with this new level of functionality, network administrators can use bandwidth more resourcefully and guarantee that critical applications run at the highest level of performance without compromising security or data privacy – benefits that businesses haven’t quite seen before.

But what does that mean in real terms?

It means that you have the choice in what you want to do with your data traffic. It means you can prioritise different moments and allocate resources accordingly. It means you can support real-time applications such as voice and video, increase your security, and improve application performance.


As the workplace becomes more virtual than physical, dispersed employees are connecting to increasing numbers of cloud services. This dispersal of connectivity, and the growth of multi-cloud networking will force many businesses to re-tool their networks in favour of SD-WAN technology.


What are your challenges?

Digitisation is affecting all sectors and businesses of every size, with network managers having to juggle a range of new applications, such as cloud deployments. And it’s these network managers that are placing greater importance on security, higher bandwidth capacity and overall reliability. Additionally, while remote working becomes the new norm for many businesses, it is more vital now than ever before to connect users to the data and applications they need wherever they are, securely and efficiently. Yet many existing WAN architectures now fall short of the ideal.


So what’s the answer?

SD-WAN is aimed at businesses who are experiencing challenges with:


Current connectivity
Managing multiple devices for their WANs, LAN, WiFi and security
Needing better visibility and more control of their network
Internet security and the threat to their network/business
Needing remote access for their mobile users
Relocating offices or expanding and opening additional locations

SD-WAN can also assist businesses on their digital transformation (DX) journey, including those who:

  • rely on cloud applications for communication across locations, users and devices
  • need rapid deployment or have a large geographic footprint
  • are experiencing bandwidth limitations impacting branch users
  • have unpredictable needs, i.e. a quick adoption of a web-based app, such as Internet banking and digital payments driving load management
  • are looking at alternatives to MPLS
  • are very focussed on low operational cost
  • have a distributed network across service providers or countries and want to integrate these networks

What can SD-WAN do for you?

SD-WAN architectures are highly-appealing for their efficiency, flexibility and security benefits, as well as handling traffic based on priority, quality of service (QoS) and security requirements in accordance with business needs.


Businesses today are more agile, relying on data and applications in the cloud and driven by a mobile workforce. Your network needs to adapt to this new reality, and simplifying the infrastructure is a big step in the right direction - one network with one security framework for all users and all applications will make your IT leaner and more responsive.


Managed SD-WAN from Daisy, powered by Cisco Meraki, enables businesses to connect data centres, branches, campuses and co-location facilities quickly via a software overlay, rapidly improving network speeds, tightening security and ensuring efficiency.


Cloud-delivered SD-WAN provides operational simplicities, including zero-touch configuration and automation from a central controller. It enables the orchestration of installation, configuration and management as well as centralised network visibility of your WAN through a single console. It simplifies your infrastructure with quick and easy network expansions and allows businesses to enjoy the benefits of robust security features without any additional complexity.
Utilise multiple connection types to aggregate and load balance bandwidth across the links with the ability to choose from a variety of network connectivity - great when sites require additional bandwidth or a backup option. Equipment is configured and updated over the air so that a site can be live much quicker. Updates and modifications of your network and branch configuration are completed easily and more efficiently, enabling you to adapt quickly to changes in business needs and requirements.
Policy-driven configuration and templates reduce configuration drift. Real-time monitoring and measurement of the connections determines the optimal path for traffic and delivers better availability. Routing applications and traffic based on thresholds provide an improved user experience and business efficiencies. Leverage a combination of broadband internet, MPLS, and cellular connections to ensure a highly-reliable WAN for your organisation.

Building a business case for SD-WAN

You’ve decided that your business needs SD-WAN – for the sake of your customers, colleagues and future success. Now it’s time to get your fellow decision-makers on board.


We've got you covered with our SD-WAN 101 Guide!

This jargon-free guide gives you the tools to talk to other areas of your organisation and help them to understand the tangible benefits of a cloud-ready SD-WAN infrastructure. It allows you to “mix and match” these benefits to create a tailored, coherent business case for your organisation.


How can Daisy help?

Daisy works with Cisco Meraki to provide SD-WAN as a fully-managed service. We can work independently or with existing MPLS and VPN technology to make your existing network cloud-friendly and adaptive.


Whether your business has one site or one thousand, Daisy leverages Cisco Meraki’s intuitive, web-based dashboard to provide instant insights into a business’ WAN’s health, access to built-in live tools and packet capture, and centralised visibility and control over application usage both inside and between networked sites.


Daisy Managed SD-WAN removes the burden of equipment specification, procurement, network implementation and management. There is no need to hire and retain highly-skilled staff to manage your private network as we provide this service for you, leaving you to concentrate on managing your core business.


Daisy has been delivering and supporting critical infrastructure solutions for our customers as a Cisco Gold Partner for over 16 years. By partnering with Cisco, we can help our customers grow, be profitable and stay competitive. Cisco ranks #1 in the Gartner SD-WAN Equipment Market Share Report.



FAQs

While there is a lot of buzz about SD-WAN, we still hear lots of questions surrounding this technology. So whether you are familiar with SD-WAN or a complete novice, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about SD-WAN to help inform your decisions when choosing the best-fit solution for you.


With much of the UK’s workforce now working from home, businesses must ensure they provide a secure, efficient remote working environment. Unsurprisingly, many home Internet connections are struggling to cope with the increase in bandwidth demand as well as provide the same watertight levels of security that an office network offers. Working as an extension of your company network, SD-WAN maintains network security while maximising the performance and availability of business-critical applications, with homeworkers connected to the wide area network (WAN) via a secure overlay. This means staff can always depend on the applications they need to do their jobs - regardless of where they are working from - and employers can enjoy peace of mind knowing productivity and security are fully optimised. Oh, and families enjoy minimal disruption to their home connection!
As well as providing a better overall experience, SD-WAN can help businesses operate safely as they start to reopen offices, shops and branches. Whether you have one site or one thousand, you can deploy and configure network and security settings for every site with minimal effort or time spent. Additionally, SD-WAN gives you visibility and control of your networks, devices, users and traffic, helping you respond to changing demands and plan your business’ evolution. With the help of SD-WAN, businesses can rest assured that they can deliver a safe and secure post-pandemic environment, and deal with unexpected events or situations in the future.
SD-WAN is a key tool in the networking industry’s arsenal because it builds on the premise of software-defined networking (SDN), which we’re seeing as prevalent in the industry today. SDN allows you to implement more intuitive-based policies and rules on the network, and when you extend this over the wide area network (WAN) it allows more meaningful access to cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. As businesses rely more on cloud-based data and applications, and support a larger distributed workforce, networks need to adapt to this new reality. SD-WAN makes the network more flexible than ever before, keeping pace with new customer requirements and changing business conditions.
As an overlay to an existing network, SD-WAN is easy to implement. By overlay, we mean we don’t necessarily have to change all of the circuits and Internet connectivity, rather start running proof of concepts, putting SD-WAN technology in certain points of the network, and building out a journey with the customer on how they want to adopt SD-WAN technology throughout their entire estate.
SD-WAN enables employee productivity by providing certain sets of features. For example quality of service (QoS) around certain applications such as voice, where voice traffic is prioritised over Internet traffic or email access. This means the QoS on a voice call is retained at all costs over other traffic on the network. Additionally, primary circuits and secondary circuits can be used to direct traffic in certain ways. For instance, accounting information can be routed back to head office using the primary MPLS link, while using standard Internet access via FTTC for email and non-business critical applications. With the introduction of LTE technology into the SD-WAN portfolio, you can rely on 4G or 5G connectivity to keep your sites up and running in the event of a primary circuit failover, all of which means your employees can carry on working while your circuits are being looked after.
An ever-growing skills shortage means businesses can’t always allocate engineers to go on training courses which in turn stops them from adopting new technologies. As an alternative, they can use service providers like Daisy to complement and extend their existing IT capabilities, helping them adopt modern technologies like SD-WAN while they concentrate on the day-to-day running of their business. A Managed SD-WAN service helps bridge the skills gap over both the short and the long term, providing project-based professional and engineering resources, as well as support services around change management, incident management, and break-fix maintenance.

Get In Touch

Daisy can help make your network and cloud management smarter, and your day-to-day that much better by facilitating the transition of your legacy branch connectivity to an SD-WAN solution.


We’d love to speak to you about how we can help your organisation benefit from secure, scalable connectivity – from the office or even from the home.


Talk to one of our specialists. Call us on 0344 863 3000