Category: SD-WAN

How SD-WAN and UCaaS work together.

How Do SD-WAN and UCaaS Work Together?

How SD-WAN and UCaaS work together.

As businesses continue to move their voice technology to the cloud, software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) emerges as a supplemental networking solution to optimize that move. Combining SD-WAN with unified communications as a service (UCaaS) brings a host of benefits to a business, and we look at three of the biggest below.

Improved network. UCaaS depends on its network and SD-WAN improves network performance. SD-WAN’s ability to prioritize traffic and monitor the network from one pane of glass allows for higher-quality throughput and a better UCaaS experience. SD-WAN can allow problems to be spotted and fixed quickly so cloud-based solutions such as UCaaS don’t suffer downtime. 

Better routing. When it comes to quality of service (QoS) in UCaaS, there are three major factors that impede quality: packet loss, jitter, and latency. SD-WAN addresses those three issues with dynamic traffic management across healthier network links in real time and – in many cases – voice packet duplication. Some SD-WAN solutions that include cloud managed router capabilities further improve a business’s ability to manage issues that could impede connection quality. 

Improved security. Most think of security as just a good way to keep files safe, but it can actually improve the health of UCaaS as well. One good way to improve overall security in the system is to isolate traffic by application, which makes it tougher for some kinds of security threats to figure out where core applications are located. SD-WAN can offer that kind of isolation, which not only makes the system safer, but also provides a cleaner flow for UCaaS traffic. 

How to Get SD-WAN and UCaaS Working Together

SD-WAN sets the stage for optimal UCaaS performance. It’s the horse you need to pull the cart. These technologies combined make for a great opportunity to improve your sales by offering one alongside the other. When you need some help getting the right SD-WAN to your customers, drop us a line at MicroCorp. As a master agent, we not only have relationships with the industry’s top SD-WAN providers, but we’ve made SD-WAN a primary focus of our Ultimate Partner Training series to help ensure that you’re up to the minute on SD-WAN operations.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

What's the deal with SD-WAN 2.0?

Introducing the Next Era of SD-WAN

What's the deal with SD-WAN 2.0?Countless businesses around the world are already enjoying the many benefits of software defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN), and each day new enterprises are realizing this technology is best suited to meet their increasing networking needs. But, like most modern innovations, the foundations of SD-WAN have evolved in recent years, and an improved version now exists — one that brings more clarity, security, and ease of use for multi-location organizations. Introducing SD-WAN 2.0.

Why a 2.0?

Some of us have witnessed SD-WAN at work over the years and wondered how an improved iteration could take advantage of the technology’s true potential. Centralization, prioritization of traffic, and an improved cloud experience are all great, but SD-WAN can deliver even more to the enterprise.

What’s different?

Traditionally, SD-WAN has focused on improving internet performance and achieving faster connections to WAN architecture. But SD-WAN 2.0 goes further by focusing more on control and remote management — beyond the WAN and into SD-Branch.

With managed WiFi, content filtering, and managing the other pieces of SDN, 2.0 takes everything to the next level to include “SD-LAN” — essentially, LAN management. With 2.0, you can manage the individual pieces on your network. In this way, SD-WAN 2.0 takes the granular level of control available with SD-WAN to the local network.

Where SD-WAN “1.0” took everything to the demarc, 2.0 takes it almost to the computer. It’s a full diagnostic suite that goes beyond the firewall. Cyber security is a big focus here. “1.0” gave enterprises a way to create virtual private networks (VPNs) based on low-cost broadband access, but 2.0 enables users to manage the security aspect of what’s going on in their networks with intelligent sharing and other advanced security features.

2.0 combines what people buy in multiple products today. Gone are the days of having to purchase a firewall, managed WiFi, network diagnostics packages, and LAN management all separately. And, gone are the days of needing IT people at every branch location. With 2.0, businesses can go deeper into their networks. This next generation of SD-WAN is for the business ahead of its time and for partners who are ready to sell the future.

We’re excited to offer businesses an advanced SD-WAN experience. Contact SimpleWAN today if you’d like to learn more.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

How SD-WAN and MPLS are co-existing in the market.

SD-WAN and MPLS: Technologies Growing Together

How SD-WAN and MPLS are co-existing in the market.One of the biggest selling points for software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) is that it can function as a replacement for multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). Despite the fact that MPLS is threatened with obsolescence in the face of SD-WAN, there’s actually a business case for keeping both SD-WAN and MPLS together as complementary technologies.

Why Should Anyone Use Both SD-WAN and MPLS?

As it turns out, the combination of SD-WAN and MPLS is not only feasible, it’s also recommended.

MPLS has reputation. SD-WAN is a comparatively new technology. It’s certainly got plenty to recommend its use, but at the same time, MPLS is a known quantity and has been for years. Bringing in the combined force, therefore, allows companies to split the difference. You can’t stick with the familiar forever. The familiar makes an excellent bridge to the new, so using both SD-WAN and MPLS allows the familiar and unfamiliar to connect.

SD-WAN is a savings tool. Many will recommend keeping some MPLS as an additional option. SD-WAN does well with reducing MPLS use, which can be a cost-saver for businesses. Throwing MPLS out altogether, though, is seldom recommended. Some companies use SD-WAN and MPLS together like a virtual private network (VPN), a tool commonly recommended for data security.

SD-WAN adds range. While MPLS options were great for large-scale operations, they didn’t always work well for picking up the smaller sub-sites that businesses might have had. SD-WAN, meanwhile, does that job quite well. The hybrid model of SD-WAN and MPLS means maximum sales potential, tackling both large sites and small branches.

SD-WAN and MPLS means reliability. SD-WAN with pure internet links alone isn’t likely to provide the kind of service that guaranteed quality-of-service (QoS) required by applications. The combination of SD-WAN and MPLS, meanwhile, makes the overall connection stronger and more likely to live up to QoS demands. Since MPLS is a WAN technology, and SD-WAN is an edge technology, combining the two means fuller coverage from the core to the edge.

What to Do When You Want to Make SD-WAN and MPLS Work Together

So as we’ve seen, it may not be SD-WAN or MPLS, and together isn’t really a waste of time and resources. Many times, it’s the perfect combination for value and getting the most out of a network. To put these two together to their fullest, just drop us a line at MicroCorp. We’ll get you familiar with both and how best to deliver to your customers.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

Here's what an industry expert has to say about SD-WAN.

Helping Customers See the Benefits of SD-WAN

Struggling to sell SD-WAN? Take some advice from an industry expert.

WHere's what an industry expert has to say about SD-WAN. hile the advantages of a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) are obvious to those in the networking house, outsiders can sometimes struggle to see the strengths of this new type of technology. Fortunately, Chris Donlan, a Solutions Architect and SD-WAN Evangelist for MicroCorp, is here to break down the challenges plaguing many partners.

“The value of SD-WAN is simple,” says Donlan. “At its core, SD-WAN is an evolution of WAN technologies that allows end-users to overcome inherent network vulnerabilities to meet the new demands of business applications today and increasing migrations to cloud solutions.

Think of it this way: cable networks pose their own challenges with network performance, and telco carrier networks aren’t infallible either. Add in the inherent nature of the internet as an uncontrollable entity, and there’s a lot of opportunity for uncertainty and exposure to poor application performance. SD-WAN empowers end users to bypass these limitations with software-based solutions utilizing multiple WAN connections.

Here are a few of the more tangible benefits SD-WAN offers:

  • Connection resiliency
  • Network visibility
  • Intelligent packet routing
  • Rapid deployment
  • Improved network management

Despite these benefits, however, partners still face a variety of roadblocks when presenting SD-WAN as the most appropriate solution for customers.

“One of the current challenges of SD-WAN is that it’s new to the market as the SD-WAN ‘package.’ The technologies have been around a while, just not all packaged together,” says Donlan, “so there’s hesitancy to adopt what appears to be new technology. Another issue is that the provider landscape makes it very confusing for end users. It seems every week there is a new provider promoting their SD-WAN. And what do people do when they’re confused? They do nothing; it paralyzes them.”

But it doesn’t have to come to that deer-in-the-headlights situation for your customers, as Donlan explains. Shifting the way you think about SD-WAN, and changing the way you position it to your customers can instantly erase any confusion.

“A lot of people ask me how to sell SD-WAN,” says Donlan. “I tell them, the the important thing to understand is that SD-WAN isn’t an it. SD-WAN doesn’t have features and benefits, and it’s not something you can sell like a phone system. Instead, SD-WAN has the technological capability to allow a business to run much more efficiently. Notice, however I haven’t said it reduces costs.”

Donlan explains how some unenlightened folks may attempt to position SD-WAN as a cost-saving solution for any customer, but the technology doesn’t necessarily boost everyone’s bottom line.

“Unfortunately, it’s a common misconception that SD-WAN can save everyone money,” says Donlan. “That’s not necessarily the case. In one scenario, it might, but in another scenario, it might not. SD-WAN can, however, save you soft costs such as downtime, and it makes networks easier to manage. But partners who start the conversation with ‘It’s going to save you money,’ might not end up where they thought they would.”

So what benefits should partners suggest first when presenting SD-WAN to customers? In Donlan’s view, it largely depends upon the business.

“Connectivity assurance, network visibility and management, as well as application performance are important advantages of SD-WAN,” says Donlan, “but network visibility isn’t going to mean anything to a CEO. However, for somebody whose job it is to manage the network, being able to make decisions based on visibility and analysis is incredibly valuable.”

In today’s data-driven world, there’s endless information at our fingertips. SD-WAN gives you the tools you need to derive insights from that information. “For instance, SD-WAN can show you historical reports about network performance,” says Donlan. “And whether it’s internet or MPLS, you can review your network’s performance during the last 30 days and confront your carrier if they’re not living up to their end of the SLA. But that’s just an example. There’s all kinds of information there that’s available with SD-WAN.

SD-WAN can be confusing for many individuals who aren’t familiar with the in and outs of networking. But by positioning the technology in the right light and explaining in clear terms what your customers stand to gain, SD-WAN should be an easy sell.

Contact MicroCorp and Chris to learn more about how to sell SD-WAN.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

How to tell your customer needs SD-WAN.

When Do Your Customers Need SD-WAN?

How to tell your customer needs SD-WAN.We all know there are plenty of benefits to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), but not everybody has caught on to that point yet. Maybe some are making do with their current WAN setup, or others aren’t even hooked into a WAN at all. That means opportunity, and there are ways to tell when a customer could use some help from SD-WAN.

How Can I Tell When a Customer Needs SD-WAN?

Complaints about network quality. Using SD-WAN can leverage multiple WAN links (MPLS, DIA, Broadband, LTE) utilizing load balancing and WAN optimization features to increase network reliability. Any cloud-based application must have network reliability to perform as the business intends it to; uptime to the cloud is critical.

Complaints about network cost. Depending on the needs and requirements of the business, MPLS may be removed and replaced with a hybrid (MPLS and internet) or dual internet-based option. Most MPLS networks are single-threaded and vulnerable to downtime. SD-WAN can allow for redundant failover WAN connections working in real time.

Complaints about network reliability. One of SD-WAN’s core components is visibility into the network links’ health through a user portal which allows end users to view the health of the network in real time and in historical trends. This also allows network managers to make changes to positively impact an application’s performance. Another core SD-WAN function is to act in real time on the current state of the network links, making decisions on how to best route traffic over the various links.

Complaints about the network holding the business back. We now live in an application performance-based world. The network “does not move” or the internet is not “slow.” Rather the applications users are trying to reach and use are performing poorly based on network conditions. If a customer is actually fighting the network to get anything done, it’s a perfect time to talk SD-WAN. SD-WAN helps geographically-distributed offices better connect, and since SD-WAN is very agile, it allows for a fast turn up of new locations onto the WAN.

How Do I Get Started Providing SD-WAN Services?

If you’ve spotted some points that show a customer is ready for SD-WAN, then get in touch with us at MicroCorp. We have a dedicated, provider-agnostic SD-WAN Solutions Architect who can help you define the best SD-WAN solution for your customers. Our Ultimate Partner Training program focuses on SD-WAN, and we can address all the key points of SD-WAN use from network visibility and control to improving connectivity reliability. So when your customers look like they can benefit, just drop us a line, and we’ll help you get started.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

What is in store for MPLS with the rise of SD-WAN?

SD-WAN Has Not Completely Replaced MPLS

What is in store for MPLS with the rise of SD-WAN?When even a major research operation like Gartner is asking questions like “Is MPLS dead?”, it can be forgiven that some might think multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) has joined the great dumpster of technological history. It’s a funny thing, but most of the people suggesting that MPLS has passed on are largely connected to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) provision. SD-WAN is growing in adoption, but isn’t likely to completely replace MPLS.

So Why Isn’t MPLS Dead, Anyway?

There’s no doubt that SD-WAN has made a lot of gains. But MPLS is still delivering value on several fronts.

Legacy systems. MPLS is increasingly a legacy system. A Nemertes study found that 78% of organizations that have SD-WAN in place won’t be shutting down MPLS operations. Though a substantial percentage plan to restrict it, or otherwise reduce its use, complete shutdowns are unlikely. MPLS was a major investment; why lose the utility of an investment before it’s necessary?

Possibility of hybridization. More and more users are looking at SD-WAN and MPLS as complementary, not competitive, systems. SD-WAN is providing some excellent ways to cut costs by taking some of the heat off an MPLS system. Both together, therefore, can provide cost-effective power for applications that means efficiency without sacrifice.

Clear difference of function. MPLS is commonly seen as a great way to connect two specific points together. But MPLS doesn’t work so well on the global stage, and there’s SD-WAN’s opportunity. That means that MPLS can do well to connect the specialized and the local, while SD-WAN can expand to the wider picture.

A CIO’s balancing act. With MPLS doing so well on one side of the equation, and SD-WAN doing so well on the other, it behooves us to realize that the chief information officer (CIO) might well want to keep both running to ensure maximum smoothness of operation…as well as his or her post. Why drop what works, when a small addition can keep it working?

How Can I Find the Best Mix of MPLS and SD-WAN For My Business?

Some may want to take advantage of MPLS’ unique benefits. Others may want to proceed right to SD-WAN. For those who aren’t sure either way, a good place to pin down your needs is to drop us a line at MicroCorp. We’ve got experience on both sides of the spectrum and can readily help you figure out just the right mix for your operations. So get in touch with us and get started on the best communications profile for your operations.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

Infographic: SD-WAN In The Year Ahead: Waxing, Waning, and Changes

Like any innovative technology, SD-WAN evolves rapidly. For businesses utilizing SD-WAN or evaluating its implementation, there are a few considerations to keep in mind for the coming year.

Continue reading

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

SD-WAN isn't going anywhere any time soon.

You’re Not Too Late for Your Share of SD-WAN Sales

SD-WAN isn't going anywhere any time soon.It’s easy to feel left behind on a lot of topics these days. Wish you’d bought a pile of bitcoin back in 2011? Wish you’d bought Google at the IPO? Being left behind is an easy state to be in, but the good news for those looking to make sales in software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) is that the good times haven’t really started rolling yet. There’s still plenty of room to make a mark in this market, with a little of the right information.

Why Isn’t It Too Late to Get in on SD-WAN Sales?

There are several reasons.

There’s no set blueprint for sales. If conditions had evolved to the point where everyone who wanted SD-WAN already had it, then there would have been sure protocols for making sales, derived from patterns made by successful sales attempts. But even as recently as June, groups like VeloCloud were noting that there wasn’t an established blueprint for sales, which means there’s still clearly room to run.

Growth still forecast. Several separate reports from several different market research firms agree on one point: the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of SD-WAN does not fall to zero after 2017. If the growth rate is not stopped completely, then there is room for you to sell.

New developments. If there is to be growth in the market, then developers in the field will pursue their own slice of it. Changes in hardware and software, and the interactions between the two, will still be called for. Replacements for broken systems will be needed, and newer, faster, and better tools will emerge. Those systems will need to be sold, and that means opportunity in selling.

Die-hards will hold out. SD-WAN is often regarded as a good way to replace multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) systems. There are still MPLS users out there, who haven’t made the jump yet for several reasons. Maybe the systems “still work.” Maybe they’re waiting-and-seeing until the new tax cuts arrive to see what effect that has on business. Whatever the reason, the old ways are still in play, and that means opportunity for the astute.

How Do I Get Started Selling SD-WAN?

If you’re looking to sell SD-WAN, then the way to start is by contacting us at MicroCorp. We have an extensive partnership system that opens up access to a range of services and supplementary materials to help you get the best chance at success in this still-growing field. So just drop us a line to get started.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

There is still time to know how to sell SD-WAN.

SD-WAN: Don’t Worry, You Haven’t Been Left Behind

There is still time to know how to sell SD-WAN.It’s easy for MicroCorp partners to feel like they’ve missed the SD-WAN train. While seeming like it’s all the rage, it is actually here to stay, and if you haven’t made the effort to educate yourself on the ins and outs of the technology (or SDN, for starters) then of course you’ll be daunted. But, it’s not too late, and here’s why.

The Myth of SD-WAN

When I give talks on the topic, I ask the room: “How many of you are talking about SD-WAN?” Everyone raises their hands.

Then I ask: “How many of you have quoted an SD-WAN deal?” A portion of the group sits down.

Then: “How many people have installed and gotten paid on SD-WAN deals?” Usually, out of 200 people, 5 people are left standing after that question.

Therein lies the hype versus the reality. Yes, it’s the future. Yes, everyone’s talking about it. But only a small number of people have made deals because SD-WAN has failed to productize thus far.

SD-WAN has taken a while to adopt because it is similar to the cloud in that few people truly understand it and don’t feel comfortable bringing it up with customers. Everyone wants to do something with the cloud, but until recently, no one knew how to put it to work, and this is the conundrum of SD-WAN that MicroCorp partners need to know.

The Need to Productize

Business owners are already buying internet circuits, phone service, and they need to transition to hosted, or move their servers to the cloud, etc. SD-WAN is the next transition for MicroCorp partners already selling those services. But they need to understand where SD-WAN comes in and what its benefits to the customer are.

People have realized what the business case for cloud is now. SD-WAN is approaching that stage. Asking people if they want SD-WAN will fall flat if you don’t explain the business case in real terms. Provide examples of real use-cases such as a gas station’s network goes down and they can’t run credit cards. Every minute lost is tons of revenue. And if that company has multiple branches? 10-fold loss.

Businesses rushed to the cloud without realizing what that connection really means if it goes away. SD-WAN is an actual solution to the difficulties of the cloud transition.

The key element MicroCorp partners can embrace in order to sell SD-WAN is to demonstrate the real need. SD-WAN enables vital business services to stay up when an outage happens so they don’t lose tangible amounts of revenue.

Want to know more about how to bring the most innovative technology in the channel to your partners and customers? SimpleWAN and MicroCorp are educating partners every day on how to connect customers with SD-WAN. Talk to us today to learn more.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.

The right vendor designs SD-WAN according to the needs of the client.

Demand Customization in Your Clients’ SD-WAN to Ensure Success

The new enterprise has arrived. No longer are employees required exclusively to arrive at a set start time at a physical location, find comfort in a cube and churn out unrealistic outcomes. Today, technology has made flexibility possible through the cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications that help companies achieve success regardless of physical location. As such, professionals now work from home, the road and any other location that supports their focus on work-life balance.

The drive to implement software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) solutions is facilitated by the demand for improving branch office connectivity and mobile capabilities among those branch employees who must be able to be productive on the go. Plus, companies are looking for solutions that enable them to integrate existing services that meet the requirements of the customer base. The best way to accomplish this is with custom installations, initiated by experienced teams.

To truly get the benefits associated with SD-WAN, it’s also crucial that licensing is simple, and all-inclusive. This simplified connectivity ensures features are more easily configured to meet the needs of the customer, without adding to the price. The solution also needs to incorporate access to hybrid networks to solve connectivity challenges at each location. Wireless, of course, is a must as it is no longer a back-up service, but instead a key element of productivity.

Still, there are a number of different elements inherent in the operation of the multi-location company that must be considered before SD-WAN can be implemented and start to deliver value. For instance, a particular company understands they are ready to make the move to SD-WAN, but has long relied on multiple carriers to support branches across many states. In order to modernize the network, simplifying connectivity and network management is critical, while keeping application performance top of mind.

The best approach is to study the needs and usage patterns of each independent branch so as to truly understand the needs that must be met in order for SD-WAN to deliver value. Then, in the process of designing the right SD-WAN development plan, it helps to consider best practice applications that help meet the needs of the individual users. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies, for instance, help to leverage existing services, while preserving device and usage habits employees already have.

Working in collaboration with internal IT and IP teams is also essential, as they will bear the responsibility for the SD-WAN and anything supported through this new deployment. Their understanding, buy-in and support are essential to any project with the primary goal of changing the network so as to support leading-edge technology and new ways of doing business.

This is where MicroCorp comes in. Our experience in the industry revolves around understanding the needs of our clients through their lens, not ours. When we partner with you to deliver solutions to your clients, they’re focused on benefits and not processes. We’ll work with you to design solutions that best meet your clients’ needs, and you determine the best approach to customization through key collaborations. Contact us today to start those conversations.

Check out our ultimate guide on selling SD-WAN to learn more about the technology itself, how it integrates and supports other solutions, and how channel partners can take full advantage of it.