How is SD-WAN as a service different from managed SD-WAN?

If your enterprise is considering changes in software-defined WAN infrastructure, you first need to understand the difference between managed SD-WAN and SD-WAN as a service to make the right choice. 

Although these two are used interchangeably and might seem similar in a lot of ways, they have fundamental differences in terms of how the maintenance and troubleshooting are done and the support solutions are deployed. The key difference is that SD-WAN as a service does not include SD-WAN maintenance or management while SD-WAN managed services do. Both these types have their pros and cons. For an in-depth understanding, let us look at the other differences between SD-WAN management and SD-WAN services – to help you embrace the right solution that makes more sense for your business. 

Available Choices for SD-WAN 

The traditional MLPS or Multipool Label Switching solutions are becoming obsolete as many organizations are switching to SD-WAN or software-defined networking solutions. With SD-WAN, network functionality is easy to change, and the load balancing and network optimizations are more effective. It is also more flexible, affordable, and scalable compared to on-premise solutions that require huge investment. 

When it comes to SD-WAN solutions, you have two choices, SD-WAN as a service and SD-WAN managed services and there is no “best” option. Which solution you choose for your enterprise depends on the level of control you would like to have over your SD-WAN network. 

SD-WAN as a Service: Managed by Your Organization 

Like any other service, SD-WAN as a service provides the functionalities of SD-WAN networking solutions and is hosted by your service provider. The technology service provider will provide you with a service legal agreement containing the terms and conditions, the basic functionality, and the services you are entitled to. They may offer 24/7 support solutions and monitor your network solution but apart from that, you are required to manage and maintain the network on your own. 

The key advantage of software-defined WAN as a service is that it is affordable and the service contract can be renewed monthly. As a con, you need to engage your internal IT team for the configuration and management of the SD-WAN solution. This creates a work overload on your internal IT department as they have to manage and maintain SD-WAN infrastructure in between other day-to-day tasks. This also requires training your IT department because if they are not well-versed with SD-WAN solutions, the product will fail due to poor configuration and management. Furthermore, any problems that arise later with the SD-WAN network fall on the shoulders of your IT department and they have to troubleshoot issues on their own. 

Managed SD-WAN- A One-Stop Network Solution

Managed SD-WAN encompasses providing SD-WAN services and solutions and also managing them regularly. The configuration, maintenance, troubleshooting, and management, all will be done by your service provider so your IT staff is available to focus on other critical tasks. 

A Managed Service Provider (MSP) will implement the right SD-WAN solution for your organization and continuously monitor your networks, making adjustments and optimizing for troubleshooting problems that may arise. It is a completely hands-off solution so you do not have to worry about anything! All you need to do is contact your MSP and communicate any network issues that arise and leave it to them to manage everything! 

There are significant benefits to implementing a managed SD-WAN solution. An MSP will ensure network reliability, responsiveness, and security and make necessary upgrades for future-proofing. MSPs have more experience than your internal IT team at troubleshooting problems and can respond to potential issues quickly and improve network performance and efficiency. 

The only downside is that Managed SD-WAN may be more expensive compared to SD-WAN as a service and the contract is longer, maybe for a year or two. But when you compare the costs with the probability of network failure, maintenance hassles, and training your internal IT department in network solutions, engaging with an MSP rather than trying to manage everything internally seems like a smarter choice. 

Making the Final Call: Managed SD-WAN or SD-WAN as a Service?

Whether you choose Managed SD-WAN or SD-WAN as a service, either way, you get to access the fundamentals offered in SD-WAN services. If you are someone who likes to have control over your network, you can choose SD-WAN as a service to configure, manage and troubleshoot problems on your own. However, it is necessary to be aware that the expenses of managing the network internally usually exceed the cost of outsourcing the job. 

But, do you have the time, energy, and resources to manage and maintain the services yourself? If not, you should implement a Managed SD-WAN solution and let your managed service provider handle everything. Are you still not sure which Software-defined WAN solution is best for your enterprise? Experts at Microland can build integrated network solutions and optimize for you, accelerating your digital transformation.

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