Request a SD-WAN Technology Briefing with WWT experts to learn how your organization can benefit by upgrading to a software-defined WAN.
The sustained march of digital transformation across industries has amplified demands on traditional wide area networks (WAN). To deliver branch offices with the digital services expected by today’s workers and customers, enterprises require not only higher bandwidths and speeds but the ability to support new traffic patterns.
We’ve covered what SD-WAN is and why healthcare providers, retailers and other large enterprises are systematically adopting the technology to improve wireless connectivity and workforce productivity en route to strengthening brand awareness and creating enhanced customer experiences.
But did you know SD-WAN can also improve your network security posture; enable transport and hardware independence; improve bandwidth efficiency and application performance; streamline quality of service; reduce operational costs through automation; simplify IT operations; and speed time to market?
Ready for transformation
With hundreds of medical offices and clinics spread across the U.S., all operating on a legacy network of aging WAN routers and circuits, a large healthcare system knew its infrastructure needed an uplift to meet existing demands for delivering digital services and application performance.
The customer realized SD-WAN was the right solution to remedy some of the internal issues plaguing their network:
- Administrators lacked visibility into what was happening on the network, leading to increased security risks.
- Their management platform for configuring and monitoring WAN devices was disjointed and difficult to manage with consistency.
- Configuration drift, caused by ad hoc changes to hardware and software made by engineers over time, forced WAN devices to stray from the customer’s original standards.
- Their network design promoted technical debt related to security controls and quality of service configuration.
The customer’s initial goal was to virtualize their WAN through a transport-independent design and software-defined solution to reduce operational costs and provide a single point of administration for device and policy management, including security and quality of service.
Additionally, they were interested in gaining visibility into WAN traffic and introducing the ability to automate the provisioning of WAN routers.
SD-WAN experts on call
Having gained the customer’s trust as their preferred network services partner over the last decade, and with intimate knowledge of their environment, WWT was able to quickly guide the customer when it came to testing, integrating and installing the right SD-WAN solution.
Our staff of senior SD-WAN engineers understand that every SD-WAN architecture must be designed for each customer’s unique requirements, considering the geographic diversity of the locations being connected as well as the types of connectivity being used (e.g., MPLS, Internet, broadband, 4G/LTE, etc.).
To assist companies with the evaluation and testing of SD-WAN solutions, WWT offers a number of SD-WAN lab environments within our Advanced Technology Center (ATC). We use the ATC to demonstrate the value of supported solutions and enable proof-of-concept engagements where customers can evaluate different OEMs against the requirements they deem most critical.
Check out some of our most popular SD-WAN offerings in the ATC:
Pilot, integration, installation
Having identified Cisco SD-WAN (Viptela) as their preferred solution, the customer engaged us for a custom pilot to validate their technology selection.
For the pilot, we installed and tested Cisco SD-WAN routers in a particularly challenging environment chosen by the customer. We tested several key solution features against priority scenarios, including security use cases to increase traffic visibility and quality of service use cases to streamline the quality of digital traffic.
After a successful pilot, the customer proceeded to engage WWT for integration and phased installation services across several hundred medical offices and clinics, growing to several thousand for this deployment.
The customer leveraged our North American Integration Center to pre-configure the core components of the SD-WAN solution, comprising branch WAN routers, aggregation/head-end WAN routers, plus management and orchestration tools that provide the interface for IT to deploy, manage and troubleshoot the solution.
Once the SD-WAN components reached customer sites, on-site WWT engineers performed expert installation services to confirm the solution was properly integrated and running smoothly. Our integration and implementation capabilities significantly accelerated the customer’s time to market and saved them save money.
We connected nearly 100 sites during phase one of the implementation with no major hurdles. We expect to complete phase two, which features even more sites, in the coming year.
By choosing Cisco’s SD-WAN solution and engaging WWT for the pilot, integration and installation services, the healthcare system now has a transport independent SD-WAN platform that provides a single point of administration for network management and monitoring.
Time to Market: The agility of the solution directly impacts the customer’s time to market. New sites can now be provisioned much quicker, and configurations and software can be pushed to sites as soon as hardware is installed and connected to the controller. This accelerates the lifecycle process and enables the customer to stand up new sites faster.
Automation and Visibility: By utilizing the automation aspects of the solution — such as zero touch provisioning, configuration templates and enhanced visibility into types of traffic — the customer is better equipped to make decisions related to traffic patterns and services that can run on the network without impacting existing applications.
The automated provisioning of new routers through templates in the controller system also helps the customer proactively mitigate other common WAN-related issues.
Plus, enhanced traffic visibility enables advanced endpoint security protection, which can improve their overall security posture.
Quality of Service: The solution improves quality of service by prioritizing application traffic over the highest performing WAN transport and enabling the customer to use all available WAN transports (instead of operating under an active-passive transport model where idle bandwidth is wasted while a primary circuit remains functional).
Centralized management of QoS policy also provides consistent and relevant management of quality controls, allowing the customer to quickly adjust application priorities as their business needs change.
Workforce Productivity: The solution allows customers to provide faster connectivity, prioritize business relevant applications and adjust WAN policies with consistency, leading directly to cost savings and improved workforce productivity.
As the customer migrates additional sites to Cisco SD-WAN, they’ll gain additional productivity due to simplified provisioning and policy management.
Future Benefits: After completing the project, the customer will realize additional savings by achieving full independence from specific carriers and MPLS WAN circuit architectures.
Cisco SD-WAN also positions the customer to pursue the advantages of cloud networking with Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) integrations, should they adopt those application hosting models in the future.
For more information about our SD-WAN services and ATC lab capabilities - including the popular Cisco SD-WAN (Viptela) Sandbox - request a SD-WAN Technology Briefing with WWT's experts.