SD-WAN-as-a-Service: Another Option for Enterprises to Deploy Multi-Branch Management

Oct 16, 2018

As software-defined networking (SDN) has become more and more widespread and businesses across the globe have begun to make the transition to virtualization, both enterprises and service providers alike have spotted the potential in markets such as SD-WAN-as-a-service and partnerships between service providers and vendors are becoming increasingly common as more and more companies race to access this lucrative new market.

Managed services are becoming increasingly popular thanks to the growing use of software-defined networking and network function virtualization (NFV) and many different aspects of a network, from cyber security to the network infrastructure itself can now be provided by a third party as a service or in the form of a manged subscription.

SD-WAN has become so popular that there are a number of different ways in which consumers are able to acquire it, through software agreements and licenses or managed services, for example. However, while the terms are often used interchangeably as well as the two sharing many of the same benefits, there a few differences between managed SD-WAN and SD-WAN-as-a-service.

In this article, we’ll be looking at what SD-WAN-as-a-service is and what benefits it offers to customers when supplied through this model. Before we do that, let’s first go over a few differences between managed SD-WAN and SD-WAN-as-a-service in order to better understand what separates them and gives them each their own advantages and disadvantages.

SD-WAN-as-a-Service Vs. Managed SD-WAN

As more and more businesses and enterprises begin to move towards software-defined networking, one of the biggest challenges in this transition is determining which software-defined model works best in each specific case.

As with many technological innovations, there are no ‘one size fits all’ solutions, and various different approaches to SD-WAN implementation can be taken.

One of the most popular approaches is managed SD-WAN, in which managed service providers are responsible for hardware, software and networking as well as configuring monitoring, managing and securing the WAN service. These managed services are more generally found to be 12-month or multi-year contracts and are priced depending on the number of sites, link speeds, and service level agreements.

On the other hand, SD-WAN-as-a-service is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a third-party and are made available to customers over a shared network. In this model, customers are responsible for monitoring, managing and configuring their own SD-WAN service, usually through a cloud-based management system. SD-WAN-as-a-service are generally available on a monthly subscription basis.

Deciding whether to implement a managed SD-WAN solution or go with SD-WAN-as-a-service depends on each individual enterprise’s existing infrastructure and available resources.

Many IT teams find outsourcing their connectivity issues a relief while others prefer to be more in control of their network infrastructure.

What Benefits Does SD-WAN-as-a-Service Offer to customers?

There are various different benefits to be had from utilizing SD-WAN-as-a-service and many businesses and enterprises have started to reap the rewards of enhanced, software-defined networking through their subscriptions to SD-WAN-as-a-service solutions.

As previously mentioned, understanding which solution would best suit your business needs is key to unlocking the full potential of SD-WAN-as-a-service and experiencing the performance enhancing, network-upgrading transformation that has been brought about by both software-defined networking and network function virtualization.

Greater Control

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution in full swing, more and more network applications and functions are becoming both increasingly virtualized and customizable. As a result, greater levels of control and bespoke configurations are becoming increasingly popular among those looking to subscribe themselves to SD-WAN-as-a-service solutions.

With SD-WAN-as-a-service, customers are responsible for monitoring, managing and configuring their own SD-WAN service and applications are hosted through a third-party, relieving them of the headache of having to upgrade their own WAN connectivity while also allowing them to adjust network configurations to their own bespoke requirements.

This allows for greater control and provides the customer with a level of flexibility that managed SD-WAN services struggle to reach.

Cost Reduction

Spending heaps of money on network infrastructure that barely made it through the last decade is one sure fire way of falling behind over the next few years as more and more advanced network features and applications become available. However, not everyone has the funds to hand to completely overhaul their existing infrastructure.

As with any kind of commercial or industrial technology, reducing financial outgoings and increasing ROI plays a big role in what makes SD-WAN-as-a-service such an attractive and increasingly popular option. By replacing or upgrading existing wide-area networks, significant cost reductions can be made through the implementation of SD-WAN-as-a-service solutions.


Unfortunately, the last few years have demonstrated to us all just how vulnerable the systems we rely upon are to malicious cyber security threats. As we continue our way through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it seems likely that we will continue to discover (and be shown) just how essential cyber security is in the age of SDN, NFV and the Internet of Things.

SD-WAN-as-a-service allows customers to benefit from integrated security solutions that are bespoke and configurable to their own specific requirements while also being delivered via third party. Using SD-WAN, customers are also able to expand the remit of their protections to all network locations and provide greater, more efficient protections.

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