Wan Renewals – the benefits of starting early
Wide area networks are typically something delivered over an extended contractual period. Depending on how big an organisation is and how many sites it has, traditionally, a wide area network will be contracted over a three or a five-year period. One of the main reasons for such long contracts is that it can be quite disruptive to change WAN providers. This scenario worked while networks were built and designed around applications sitting in datacentres with users sat in company offices but ‘hello’ that’s not the world that we live in anymore.
WAN renewals are still being addressed in the same way, you are trundling towards the renewal of your contract, and looking for the best deal. This is fine when you’re in a status quo environment if your applications are in your datacentre, and your users are in your corporate office. Except, the scale adoption of cloud means the speed of application deployment is fragmented outside of the environment; you now need to consider your options well in advance of your WAN renewal date. This is whether or not the WAN that you’ve got is fit for purpose or will continue to be fit for purpose as you progress your cloud adoption strategy over time.
SD-WAN gives you the ability to take a fundamentally different approach to your WAN renewal. It’s not about doing the same thing for a lesser price, it’s about looking at what’s appropriate for the position that you find yourself in now, which in the majority of cases, is fundamentally different from the last time.
We would suggest that looking at SD-WAN as an option shouldn’t be considered in the same way that you would renew your traditional wide area network since that’s relatively straightforward. Perhaps your service provider is saying, “We’ll give you twice the amount of bandwidth for the same price if you sign-up for another five years”. That works for the service provider, but it doesn’t necessarily add any value for you as the end-user. Do you need that bandwidth? Do you have the visibility and the insight that SD-WAN can give you about what you actually need, and what is actually adding value? Big questions with important answers that you can’t reach without visibility and insight.
If the last 12 months have shown us anything, it is that one of the things most valuable things to us is flexibility and agility. Tying ourselves into these long, inflexible contracted periods is probably not as appropriate as it used to be when things were a lot more static. Taking a different approach; looking at having more flexibility and agility, looking at the ability to be able to use SD-WAN, is that it has the ability to really give a lot more options in terms of how you construct it. SD-WAN can help to commoditize the products that you buy from the service providers, the actual bandwidth; such as, getting the best deal for a particular location – allowing you to construct your WAN in a fundamentally different way.
We are working with a customer that’s going through precisely this at the moment who has over 130 sites across the UK. They are looking to understand the most appropriate mix for each of these sites which you cannot do in the traditional world because you are tied to one service provider. With SD-WAN, you can pick and choose what you want, giving you a lot more flexibility. The key is that a WAN renewal is the opportunity to change your behaviour, by leveraging what SD-WAN brings. It isn’t necessarily all about driving cost savings, but it is about looking at how you can introduce a lot more flexibility and a lot more agility into your environment.
This is an opportunity that organisations should really be mindful they’re not missing. The last thing you want to do is tie yourself into an inflexible long-term contract again. The pace at which businesses are moving is quicker than that, and you don’t want to make a decision that you may well regret in six, 12 or 18 months’ time.
To be really on top of this we suggest starting to considering WAN renewal options twelve months in advance. At Gyrocom we have developed a WAN Discovery Offer, where we work with organisations to help them understand what the possibilities would be; what their requirements actually are and help them go through a value-based proposition to find the best way forward to future-proof their networks.
Check your renewal date and start early.
Managing Director at Gyrocom - Helping customers build better networks.