Many modern enterprises have a global presence with distributed operations across continents.
For example, a firm headquartered in Silicon Valley may have distributed offices on the East Coast, several sales offices spread across Europe and technology centers in the Asia Pacific region.
Each location has diverse requirements for networking services and cloud connectivity. The organization may have sensitive customer data or financial transactions between various locations. They need secure internet access to prevent data leaks during data transfer or cyber attacks on local offices.
Moreover, each office location may need its technology to scale to accommodate a growing workforce, more channel partners or vendors, remote workers and consultants.
How do you streamline IT management in diverse locations across continents and ensure peak network service performance without compromising cybersecurity?
Global SD-WAN technology is the answer.
In this article, we discuss the benefits of globally managed SD-WAN and how GTT empowers organizations to manage distributed networks, ensuring high performance, resiliency, uncompromising security and limitless scalability.
Defining Global Managed SD-WAN
Software-defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is a cloud-based, wide area network (WAN) architecture. SD-WAN uses software-defined networking concepts to distribute traffic across a wide area network or WAN.
We could think of SD-WAN as a virtual layer that sits over different WAN connections, which may include super-fast fiber connections, wireless setups, broadband lines, private networks, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) or Long Term Evolution (LTE).
At the heart of SD-WAN is a central controller—software that ensures these connections work together and data travels smoothly and efficiently between different points. In traditional WAN architecture, most control functions have to be managed individually for each location using separate hardware appliances.
But SD-WAN uses automation to configure and manage appliances and functions. Networks using software logic for configuration or management are called SD Networks or SDN, and the application of SDN techniques to wide-area networks is called SD-WAN.
SD-WAN thus replaces physical tin with virtualized network functions (known as network function virtualization or NFV) that are centrally managed, resulting in more efficient and coherent network management.
The Difference Between Local SD-WAN & Global SD-WAN
While local SD-WAN is primarily focused on networks and connectivity within a single geographical location or branch office, global SD-WAN extends these capabilities worldwide. It is designed to manage and optimize network traffic across multiple branch offices, data centers, and locations spread across different regions or countries.
Global SD-WAN is an agile, flexible, and cost-effective way for a global enterprise to connect its various branch offices across the world to its own data centers and diverse SaaS or cloud applications used by each office.
Managed Services for SD-WAN
When we say Managed SD-WAN, we mean that your organization (or the customer) does not own or manage the network and its infrastructure. It is set up and operated by a third-party service provider, so you can focus on your business without the hassle of dealing with the nitty-gritty details of network management and security.
The SD-WAN service provider oversees the orchestration and optimization of network traffic and security across all locations. It is a comprehensive solution that goes beyond providing just the technology or physical infrastructure—but also specialized services, including deploying SD-WAN devices, configuring policies, monitoring network performance, troubleshooting issues, security measures and on-site technical support. Global SD-WAN providers typically offer support in the local languages of the regions they operate in.
The Advantages of Using Global Managed SD-WAN
Improved network performance
Global Managed SD-WAN delivers high uptime and superlative network and application performance even in the event of connection disruptions because of the redundancies and failover capabilities built into the configuration. It automatically reroutes traffic in case of network failures, using multiple network paths (MPLS, broadband, LTE).
Enhanced security measures
Managed SD-WAN solutions use robust encryption protocols to secure your enterprise’s data as it is transferred between geographically distributed locations in your network. As it is centrally managed, security measures are uniformly applied, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities.
Global Managed SD-WAN is designed to be flexible and scalable. Global enterprises constantly have new additions to their network—whether it is a newly opened branch office or more partners, vendors, or remote workers—the network can quickly scale up (or even down!) based on the organization’s evolving needs.
Global SD-WAN optimizes resource utilization by intelligently routing traffic over connections that are the most cost-effective (such as broadband internet connections or LTE) at a point in time. It saves significant costs by reducing utilization on more expensive MPLS connections whenever possible.
Global Managed SD-WAN offers a unified platform for all aspects of network management across all your office locations. It streamlines IT management and eliminates the need to manage each individual network separately. Zero-touch provisioning (ZTP) minimizes the need for network engineers to configure network edge devices manually in branch locations.
Cohesive network experience
A centrally managed network provides a standardized experience for all end-users across the globe. Regardless of their location, all your employees, partners, vendors and remote workers can experience the same level of connectivity and application performance.
Faster connectivity, better collaboration
When all your office locations experience highly reliable connectivity and almost zero downtime, it enhances user experience, allows for seamless, real-time communication between distributed teams and fosters a higher level of collaboration and productivity.
Simplified vendor management
With globally managed SD-WAN, you work with a single provider for all your networking needs across your enterprise. This simplifies vendor management and eliminates the complexities of dealing with multiple vendors for different offices across the world, such as the potential for conflicting network configurations, high latency or security lapses in data transfer across networks.
What To Consider When Implementing Global Managed SD-WAN
Modern networking solutions increasingly utilize virtualized infrastructure as service providers, and enterprises prefer a software-centric approach for optimal WAN connectivity and efficient access to cloud applications.
The global SD-WAN market will reach $6.5B by 2025, while the global SD-WAN support services market is projected to reach $789M by 2025.
Given all the benefits of SD-WAN, implementing an efficient and cost-effective solution at a global scale is not easy!
You will need to work with an experienced partner who has the expertise to plan and deploy a successful SD-WAN solution that meets your organization’s requirements with regard to connectivity, performance and security.
Here are some key factors to consider before you deploy an SD-WAN solution:
Assess your current infrastructure
What’s missing in your existing network infrastructure? Are there any gaps leading to downtime or decreased performance of cloud-based apps and speed of remote collaboration tools? Are there specific needs for your global offices that your current network configuration doesn’t address? Identify areas where network performance or costs need to be optimized or where your current network provider is deficient and inefficient.
You have concluded that you need to move to a globally managed SD-WAN provider. That’s a large part of the job done! Now you must determine if your chosen SD-WAN solution will work seamlessly with your existing network infrastructure. For example, you have already invested in hardware such as routers, firewalls, switches and other networking components, which you don’t want to waste when you move to a new service provider. Compatibility is crucial to ensure smooth deployment and avoid disruptions.
Bandwidth and Performance Optimization
Discuss with your globally managed SD-WAN service provider your enterprise’s bandwidth requirements, which applications are mission-critical for your organization, and which must be prioritized in the event of disruptions or network congestion. Talk through the specifics of load balancing, link aggregation and dynamic path selection to ensure optimal traffic distribution across various types of connections.
Do you require native language support and on-site assistance? Ensure that your chosen provider can deliver reliable support in all the regions where your enterprise is present. Discuss the level of technical support you expect, including response times, on-site assistance, and training if required. Clearly outline these in a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for accountability and to address Quality of Service (QoS) issues.
Security and Compliance
Ensure that the SD-WAN solution you choose has robust security measures, such as encryption, intrusion detection and malware protection, to safeguard your data and maintain your network’s integrity.
If your industry mandates specific compliance requirements, ensure the SD-WAN solution adheres to the specified standards.
Factor in any growth plans your enterprise has already declared and anticipate any future scalability requirements. Evaluate if your chosen SD-WAN provider can architect a solution to accommodate any expansions like additional branch offices, more remote workers and global data centers in the future.
Boost Your Global Connectivity With GTT
GTT is revolutionizing how networks of global enterprises are orchestrated. GTT provides you with the best-fit SD-WAN solution for your organization, bringing transformative capabilities to your networking with our cloud-based SD-WAN managed services.
- Complex networks are replaced by a unified end-to-end SD-WAN solution that is centrally managed with user-defined control policies.
- Our solution provides a single pane of glass network management and eliminates the complicated mosaic of IT management challenges that global organizations face.
- Cloud-based SD-WAN provides a flexible and simplified way to manage your network and applications.
- Your network administrators can prioritize specific applications or reroute traffic by adjusting centrally managed policies at an overlay layer to effect network changes, giving them greater agility.
- Our centralized infrastructure management ensures you get highly reliable connectivity, with the foundation to seamlessly integrate other services such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). Secure your devices, people and infrastructure with cost-effective deployment.
Choosing whether to invest in a managed SD-WAN service or a do-it-yourself deployment option is a strategic decision. Your digital transformation depends on it.
But whether you choose a managed SD-WAN solution or a DIY model, you will need technology provided by a reliable SD-WAN vendor.
GTT is proud to have the clear leaders in the SD-WAN networking space—as named in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant—in our partner portfolio, including Aruba, VMWare and Fortinet.
GTT offers cost-effective globally managed SD-WAN services to business enterprises with distributed networks. A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of GTT revealed that GTT’s SD-WAN solution delivered a 213% ROI over three years and 6-month payback period.
With GTT as your Global Managed SD-WAN partner, you enable your organization with next-generation business agility.