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SD-WAN – The Opportunities and Challenges

Gartner describes “TechQuilibrium” as the balance point where the enterprise has the right mix of traditional and digital capabilities and assets, to power the business model needed to compete most effectively, in an industry that is being digitally revolutionized.

Cloud and intelligent network are the core elements of enterprise IT infrastructure, allowing it to access and deploy data and applications more effectively. However, legacy fixed WANs cannot efficiently or effectively cope with the dynamism of modern business, with multiple varying aspects including new company offices, evolving mission-critical applications, increased use of applications / ICT resources from the cloud, and other such factors.

We sat down with Mr Taylor Lam, our Senior Vice President, Product development & Management, to talk about one of the recent agile technologies – SD-WAN, also known as Software-Defined Wide Area Network.

Q: We ran an unofficial poll among the companies we spoke to and while about 65% know what SD-WAN is, but only a third are using it today. What is the reason behind such slow SD-WAN adoption rate even though we have been speaking about it for over 5 years?

Taylor: As we all know, SD-WAN can optimize network performance and accelerate digital transformation. Enterprises are now in the difficult situation of choosing the best way to deploy SD-WAN, rather than deciding whether to adopt it. Self-built SD-WAN has greater autonomy, but requires more resources and IT experts, which become one of the reasons why enterprises are deterred. In fact, there are many SD-WAN managed services on the market, which may convince companies to deploy SD-WAN as soon as possible to improve network efficiency.

Q: How can SD-WAN transform legacy fixed WANs?

Taylor: SD-WAN is a cost-effective WAN optimization technology to enhance network flexibility, availability, scalability and performance. It can plan the most efficient route for cloud application and route around network congestions by switching between the connection providers to provide more bandwidth for a demanding application to increase network reliability and efficiency.

Q: Well, sounds very compelling, no wonder it has become a hit. If a company chooses to build its own SD-WAN, what are the main challenges?

Taylor: There are two main challenges which are difficult to get over.

First and foremost, SD-WAN market is very fragmented, most of which are proprietary solutions which may not be compatible with other vendor solutions. When switching vendors, the company may need to spend more time and resources to redeploy SD-WAN in its infrastructure, resulting in higher switching costs and complexity.

Second, when deploying SD-WAN to IT infrastructure, the company will need a multi-skilled specialist team with hands-on expertise and experience to analyse current infrastructure and specific business needs. The team should be capable of providing professional advices based on various multi-cloud environments, cloud applications and cybersecurity to design and develop the best fit SD-WAN solution tailored to business goals and unique requirements. However, not every company's internal IT team is competent for the role. When it comes to acquiring the right talents from outside the organization, it will be very competitive and require high acquisition costs.

Q: How can companies adopt SD-WAN readily?

Taylor: Companies can adopt a one-stop-shop SD-WAN managed solution to solve the challenges. With the fully managed solution, the company can reduce the initial capital expenditures (CAPEX) and flexibly allocate budget on other technology projects which assists digital transformation.

There are many outstanding SD-WAN managed service providers on the market, including CITIC Telecom CPC. By choosing our services, our team of highly experienced technical and business experts across the globe will walk along with customers on the ground to deploy and manage SD-WAN, so that they can stay focused on their business. All of our services are backed by top-notch world-class vendors and combined with best-in-class technologies to support customers in creating customized SD-WAN solutions that best-fit long-term business needs and ambitions.

Q: SD-WAN managed solution sounds like a good choice. Some companies have businesses all over the world, especially along the “Belt and Road”. How do they choose SD-WAN service providers?

Taylor: Global enterprises require a SD-WAN service provider with global network coverage. The ideal is to be able to provide local service support to meet local business needs in real time. CITIC Telecom CPC is one of them. We have 35 SD-WAN gateways, of which more than one-third are landed in mainland China. Our services not only cover major commercial areas, but also extend along the "Belt and Road" to reach many economic and technological development zones, such as Urumqi and Xi'an. The extensive coverage can be described as one of the best in China. In addition to China, it also covers multiple Asia-Pacific and European regions that support global business needs. All the gateways are self-built and self-managed by CITIC Telecom CPC, and supported locally by our 24x7 professional team, which can meet the business needs of global enterprises.

With Global Knowledge, Regional Coverage, Local Services, plus a comprehensive portfolio of top-notch technological solutions, CITIC Telecom CPC is your trusted Global Local ICT solutions partner. If you are looking for a partner to help you evaluate SD-WAN opportunities, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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