If you don’t yet have an SD-WAN monitoring strategy, now may be the time to prioritize one. For enterprises and organizations of all kinds, their networking and connectivity strategies and deployments have changed significantly over the past few years. First was digital transformation initiatives – the competitive need to re-architect IT infrastructures and network environments to move organizations to fully digital business models. With the proliferation of work-from-home and other SD-WAN scenarios, a strong SD-WAN monitoring strategy is critical to business success.
Then came the COVID pandemic. Offices large and small closed, and suddenly, everything was being done remotely. All of us struggled through a year-plus of major worries with home office and Wi-Fi challenges heaped on top of it all.
Thankfully for many, this dark period seems to be coming to an end. Employees, customers, suppliers, and other partners are beginning to plan a path to “get back to normal”. As this happens, however, it’s clear that for many organizations, things won’t be the same.
Big Questions About Offices and Locations
The pre-pandemic norm for most mid-sized to large organizations was to operate a large, corporate headquarters location, typically Class-A office space in a downtown location in a major city. One rung down would be sizable, regional offices. And depending on the type of business, there would be some number of much smaller, branch offices.
Today, those old doubts about the efficacy of ‘working from home’ have been largely erased. The pandemic has proven that with today’s technology, we can work efficiently from anywhere.
An increasingly popular answer that companies are investigating is how to begin treating home networks as an extension of their branch offices.
To do that effectively, however, organizations need to get past the networking and connectivity issues that have often dogged branch offices. IT and NetOps teams must deliver the reliable, high-quality, and cost-effective connectivity that branch office customers and employees need. And since more change seems to be happening with office locations, flexibility is now more important than ever with networking resources.
Providing Connectivity for a Changing Office Roster
For the new branch/home office reality, connectivity via MPLS-based WANs is usually not a good choice today. The reason is two-fold: they’re too expensive and not flexible enough.
Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) are an attractive option for several reasons. First, they’re software-controlled and policy-driven, so they align perfectly with digital transformation strategies. Second, they’re much less expensive than those MPLS links sold by carriers and other service providers. Third, and perhaps most important, they’re flexible. When a change occurs, such as an old office location closing or a new branch opening, or a new home-based employee starts, connectivity can be provisioned in a snap. No truck rolls, no thrashing around cramped IT closets in branches.
The catch with SD-WAN technology is that it creates a range of network monitoring challenges, which can quickly become network performance management issues. These challenges have slowed adoption of SD-WAN over the past several years. Many of the challenges stem from the newness of the technology. Others come from having to manage a network holistically, but having MPLS links in some segments, and SD-WAN in others – and trying to watch over it all using legacy monitoring tools.
While working with customers, the SevOne team sees these issues regularly. Following are some of the SD-WAN performance monitoring challenges they see in customer accounts most often.
- Lack of end-to-end visibility – quickly gauging the overall health and performance status of a heterogeneous WAN environment is not easy.
- Troubleshooting and problem resolution – Having to stitch together performance data from MPLS and SD-WAN segments to find, diagnose, and fix problems is slow and error-prone.
- Performance optimization – Understanding the performance of highly dynamic SD-WAN in the context of the rest of the network and network services it connects to is a complex undertaking.
- Monitoring & managing the user experience – Too often with legacy monitoring tools, IT teams learn about branch office connectivity problems by way of complaints users have already made to the Help Desk. Detecting and addressing issues before they impact users is what’s needed.
Smarter SD-WAN Monitoring Spells Relief for Beleaguered Branch Offices
In order to monitor and manage performance effectively in a mixed network environment, IT and NetOps teams require a platform capable of gathering, integrating, and analyzing data across their entire WAN infrastructures.
There’s good news for teams that have held off with SD-WAN or only done partial deployments due to challenges like those cited above. Better, smarter, and more dynamic monitoring options are now available.
A best example of a modern monitoring answer for the demands of mixed and software-defined WAN environments is the SevOne SD-WAN Monitoring Solution. Its first advantage is that it’s built on the SevOne Network Data Platform, the industry’s fastest, most flexible and most scalable monitoring system.
Then there is SevOne SD-WAN Monitoring Solution’s features and capabilities. These include: providing real-time and historical visibility into complete WAN infrastructures. It includes out-of-the-box and customizable, persona-based dashboards for network operations, network engineering and line of business users. In addition, the Solution can easily be extended to cover full service delivery paths, including enterprise Wi-Fi from campus to branch, software-defined data centers, and more.
With the ability to create customized KPIs based on specific groups of users, WAN paths and health indicators for various aspects of their SD-WAN deployments, NetOps and engineering teams gain deeper and broader insight into the performance of network services running in those environments. In addition to enabling teams to pinpoint, diagnose and fix issues fast, this unique visibility helps teams to ease their transitions from using MPLS-based services to new hybrid SD-WAN-based services.
It’s Easy to Learn More about Modern SD-WAN Monitoring
If you and your team want the benefits that SD-WAN can deliver without all the monitoring challenges and shortcomings, our experts are ready and eager to speak with you. All you need to do is take the first step and Contact Us. You’ll be glad you did!