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How does the SD WAN Gartner "Magic Quadrant" help you select an SD-WAN provider?

SD-WAN Gartner Magic Quadrant
Gartner "Magic Quadrant"

Growing challenges for networks

Companies with several locations that have to process large amounts of data and transfer it from one location to another are faced with the challenge of how to do this in the face of constantly growing requirements. How do you network the individual locations so that these volumes of data can be processed? I will explain below how the "Magic Quadrant" from Gartner helps.

Ideally, you know what you need first and then create your network. However, the reality is usually different: An existing network reaches its limits due to ever-increasing requirements. Of course, you can have fiber optic cables laid across the globe if you have the right budget. A much more cost-effective option is the Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN). This involves networking the locations with each other in a logical way in order to get more out of the existing network connections for the specific requirements. Software (as the name suggests) decides which data packet runs over which line and with which priority. SD-WAN thus ensures that, for example, a file download does not affect the quality of a video conference and that business-critical connections are maintained in accordance with precisely defined guidelines. The existing resources of your infrastructure are optimally utilized. However, this requires the right SD-WAN to be set up correctly.

Important questions when choosing an SD-WAN solution

If you decide to implement an SD WAN solution in your network, two of the most crucial questions are: Which software provider should I choose? And who implements this in my case. Some manufacturers on the market have specialized in SD-WAN, while there are also providers of other products who have now also included SD-WAN in their portfolio. In other words, there are specialists and there are those who "do it all". As a customer, you can lose track of who provides the best solution for your own network. The international consulting firm Gartner offers assistance with the first of these two questions. Gartner tests products from other companies in the IT sector, including SD WAN, and recommends them to its clients. The so-called "Magic Quadrant" from Gartner provides a good overview of who delivers SD WAN and in what quality, and categorizes SD WAN providers into visionaries, niche providers, leaders and challengers. Leaders do not compromise on performance and get the maximum performance out of the SD-WAN for their customers. Niche providers, on the other hand, can prove to be recommendable if the SD-WAN can remain somewhat below the maximum. The following points should be considered when selecting an SD-WAN provider:

Which applications with which requirements in terms of latency, jitter and packet loss are used in the company? Which internal company specifications do you have in this regard? Is there confidential data that may only be transmitted in encrypted form? Is there any data traffic that must be prioritized in any case?

Expectations of the infrastructure

So before you can make a decision for your company, you should first find out what is going on in your network and what is required of your infrastructure. Different SD-WAN suppliers have different strengths in this regard. Of course, the market is also evolving. Requirements are increasing and technical possibilities are also expanding. This is why Gartner updates its "Magic Quadrant" for SD-WAN annually. New SD WAN providers are added and others are dropped. Some catch up and others fall behind. So make sure you have an up-to-date graphic in front of you.

Criteria: In the area of SD-WAN, Gartner focuses on routing, security, WAN optimization and manageability. From a certain number of locations, which does not have to be that large, it makes sense, if not very important, to have a central management platform for all your SD WAN routers. This saves an exponential amount of time when managing the devices. It is therefore very useful for you as an SD-WAN customer to take a look at this "Magic Quadrant" in order to recognize who the top providers are and to have a first impression for your decision about the SD-WAN.

In order to find the "right" SD-WAN manufacturer for YOUR network, there is no way around an individual consultation. Whether you should ultimately choose Silver Peak, Peplink, Mushroom, Viprinet, HPE, Barracuda, Oracle... (not all of them are "known" by Gartner) depends on YOUR individual needs. At Ascend, we work with some of these SD WAN vendors and can help you decide what may be the right solution for YOU. Of course, we also need to ask questions like: What security standards do you have, what applications do you use, what connections do you already have? ...
Once we have assessed your needs, we will be happy to help you create your network. Either as a complete service from recording the current status, the requirements and the implementation of the SD-WAN, or just in an advisory capacity.

SD WAN is definitely an alternative that should be considered and that also pays off in comparison with other options.