July 18, 2024

SaaS-First SDWAN Deployment vs IaaS-First SDWAN Deployment

8 min read
Discover the pros and cons of SaaS-first and IaaS-first SDWAN deployment models in this informative article.
Two networks

Two networks

The debate between SaaS-first and IaaS-first SDWAN deployments has been longstanding, and for good reasons. Both approaches have their pros and cons, depending on an enterprise’s specific requirements. As such, choosing one over the other requires careful consideration of several factors.

Understanding the Differences Between SaaS-First and IaaS-First SDWAN Deployments

SaaS-first and IaaS-first SDWAN deployments differ in multiple ways. While SaaS-first focuses on delivering application performance via direct internet access, IaaS-first entails hosting critical applications on virtual machines in the cloud. SaaS-first primarily leverages cloud-based security services, while IaaS-first primarily relies on virtual firewalls to secure traffic. SaaS-first is ideal for enterprises whose primary concern is user experience, while IaaS-first works best for those with complex network and security needs.

Another key difference between SaaS-first and IaaS-first SDWAN deployments is the level of control that enterprises have over their network. With SaaS-first, the network is managed by the SDWAN provider, which can limit the ability of enterprises to customize their network. In contrast, IaaS-first provides more flexibility and control, as enterprises can manage their own virtual machines and network configurations.

It’s also important to note that SaaS-first and IaaS-first SDWAN deployments can have different cost structures. SaaS-first typically involves a subscription-based model, where enterprises pay a monthly fee for access to the SDWAN provider’s network and services. IaaS-first, on the other hand, may involve more upfront costs for setting up virtual machines and configuring the network, but can ultimately be more cost-effective in the long run.

Pros and Cons of SaaS-First SDWAN Deployment

The primary advantage of SaaS-first SDWAN deployment is the direct internet access, which reduces latency, enhances performance, and provides network agility. SaaS-first SDWAN deployment also offers improved application visibility and control, making it easier to monitor and manage network resources. However, SaaS-first suffers from security concerns, especially since it heavily relies on cloud-based security services, which may not be enough to prevent increasingly complex security threats.

Another advantage of SaaS-first SDWAN deployment is the scalability it offers. Since it is cloud-based, it can easily accommodate changes in network traffic and bandwidth requirements. This makes it an ideal solution for businesses that experience fluctuations in network usage, such as seasonal businesses or those with remote workers.

On the other hand, one of the major drawbacks of SaaS-first SDWAN deployment is the potential for downtime. Since it relies heavily on cloud-based services, any disruption in the cloud infrastructure can lead to network downtime. Additionally, the cost of SaaS-first SDWAN deployment can be a concern for some businesses, as it may require significant investment in hardware and software.

Pros and Cons of IaaS-First SDWAN Deployment

IaaS-first SDWAN deployments provide enterprises with the ability to host critical applications on virtual machines, which reduces the need for on-premise infrastructure. It also allows organizations to easily scale their network to meet their changing needs. Additionally, IaaS-first provides better security than SaaS-first as it leverages virtual firewalls, which offer advanced security features. Nonetheless, IaaS-first SDWAN deployments suffer from high latency since all traffic must go through the cloud. IaaS-first also requires a complex network and security architecture, which may be challenging for smaller enterprises to manage.

Another advantage of IaaS-first SDWAN deployment is that it enables enterprises to reduce their capital expenditures. By leveraging cloud infrastructure, organizations can avoid the upfront costs associated with purchasing and maintaining on-premise hardware. This can be particularly beneficial for smaller enterprises that may not have the financial resources to invest in expensive infrastructure.

However, IaaS-first SDWAN deployments also have some drawbacks. For example, they may be subject to performance issues if the cloud provider experiences downtime or network congestion. Additionally, IaaS-first SDWAN deployments may require significant changes to an organization’s existing network architecture, which can be time-consuming and costly. As such, enterprises should carefully evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of IaaS-first SDWAN deployment before making a decision.

How to Choose Between SaaS-First and IaaS-First SDWAN Deployment

The decision to choose between SaaS-first and IaaS-first SDWAN deployments depends on factors such as the enterprise’s network and security needs, infrastructure requirements, and scalability concerns. Small and medium-sized enterprises that want to prioritize user experience and require high network agility are suitable candidates for SaaS-first SDWAN deployment. Conversely, larger organizations that have complex network and security architectures and require advanced security measures would benefit from IaaS-first SDWAN deployment.

It is important to note that the decision between SaaS-first and IaaS-first SDWAN deployment is not always black and white. Some enterprises may benefit from a hybrid approach that combines both deployment models. For example, an organization may choose to deploy SaaS-first SDWAN for its cloud-based applications and IaaS-first SDWAN for its on-premises applications. This hybrid approach can provide the best of both worlds, allowing for greater flexibility and customization while still maintaining a high level of security and network performance.

Key Considerations for Implementing SaaS-First SDWAN Deployment

Implementing a SaaS-first SDWAN deployment requires careful consideration of certain key factors. These include a direct internet access strategy, cloud-based security services, visibility and control over network traffic, and the ability to detect and mitigate potential security threats. Additionally, one must ensure that the network is easily scalable and can support an ever-growing number of users and devices.

Another important consideration for implementing a SaaS-first SDWAN deployment is the need for reliable and high-speed connectivity. This is especially important for organizations that rely heavily on cloud-based applications and services. It is essential to have a network infrastructure that can provide consistent and fast connectivity to ensure that users can access these applications and services without any disruptions or delays. This can be achieved through the use of high-speed broadband connections, dedicated circuits, or a combination of both.

Key Considerations for Implementing IaaS-First SDWAN Deployment

Effective implementation of an IaaS-first SDWAN deployment requires attention to a few key considerations. These include network and security architecture, scalability concerns, virtual firewalls, and the ability to deliver real-time application performance via the cloud. Additionally, organizations implementing IaaS-first SDWAN deployment need an easy-to-manage network infrastructure capable of supporting their growing needs.

Another important consideration for implementing IaaS-first SDWAN deployment is the need for a reliable and high-speed internet connection. This is because the deployment relies heavily on cloud-based services, which require a stable and fast internet connection to function optimally. Organizations should ensure that their internet service provider can provide the necessary bandwidth and reliability to support their IaaS-first SDWAN deployment.

Furthermore, it is important to consider the cost implications of implementing an IaaS-first SDWAN deployment. While the benefits of the deployment are numerous, organizations need to ensure that the costs associated with the deployment are within their budget. This includes the cost of hardware, software, and ongoing maintenance and support. Organizations should conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis before embarking on an IaaS-first SDWAN deployment to ensure that it is a financially viable option for their business.

Case Study: Successful SaaS-First SDWAN Deployment in Enterprise Environment

One example of a successful SaaS-first SDWAN deployment is a large technology company that wanted to improve network agility and user experience while reducing costs. The company leveraged a cloud-based SDWAN solution that enabled it to route its Internet-bound traffic through the cloud. This provided real-time application visibility and control, which allowed the company to better manage network resources. Additionally, the cloud-based security services provided advanced protection against increasingly complex cyber threats.

As a result of the successful deployment, the company was able to reduce its network costs by 30% and improve its network performance by 50%. The cloud-based SDWAN solution also allowed the company to easily scale its network as needed, without the need for additional hardware or infrastructure.

The company’s IT team was also able to gain greater visibility into the network, which allowed them to quickly identify and resolve any issues that arose. This improved network uptime and reduced the amount of time spent on troubleshooting, freeing up IT resources to focus on other important projects.

Case Study: Successful IaaS-First SDWAN Deployment in Enterprise Environment

A large financial institution that handles sensitive data is an example of a successful IaaS-first SDWAN deployment. The institution leveraged a virtual private network architecture, which hosted critical applications on virtual machines in the cloud. This provided a secure and scalable network infrastructure that was easy to manage and allowed the institution to easily scale its network to meet its growing needs. The virtual firewalls provided advanced security measures, enhancing the institution’s data protection measures.

Impact of Cloud Computing on SDWAN Deployment Strategies

Cloud computing has revolutionized SDWAN deployment strategies over the years. With the increasing shift to cloud-based infrastructure and services, organizations increasingly prefer SDWAN deployments that leverage the cloud. SDWAN solutions that provide direct internet access to the cloud reduce latency, enhance performance, and provide better network agility.

Future of SDWAN Deployments: Will SaaS or IaaS be the Dominant Choice?

The future of SDWAN deployments remains uncertain, with both SaaS and IaaS likely to remain popular options. By leveraging cloud computing, organizations can benefit from improved network performance, security, and scalability. However, the decision to choose SaaS or IaaS will depend on factors such as network and security needs, infrastructure requirements, and scalability needs.

Cost Comparison: SaaS-First vs IaaS-First SDWAN Deployment

SaaS-first SDWAN deployment offers cost savings as it reduces the need for expensive on-premise infrastructure and maintenance costs. Additionally, the cloud-based security services offered in SaaS-first deployment are cost-effective compared to physical firewalls. Conversely, IaaS-first SDWAN deployment requires the use of virtual machines in the cloud. While this may seem cheaper, the cost of virtual machines and supporting infrastructure can quickly add up, making it more expensive than SaaS-first deployment in some cases.

Security Considerations for SaaS-First vs IaaS-First SDWAN Deployment

Security is a critical factor in any SDWAN deployment strategy, but it is more crucial in SaaS-first and IaaS-first deployments. SaaS-first SDWAN deployments rely heavily on cloud-based security services, which may not be enough to protect against increasingly complex security threats. Conversely, IaaS-first SDWAN deployments leverage virtual firewalls, which provide advanced security measures, but only if implemented correctly.

Scaling Your Network with SaaS or IaaS-Based Solutions

Cloud-based SDWAN solutions, whether SaaS or IaaS, provide enterprises with the ability to scale their networks effortlessly. SaaS-based solutions are ideal for smaller and medium-sized businesses with fewer network and security concerns, while IaaS-based solutions are ideal for organizations that require advanced security and compliance measures. Both solutions provide increased network agility, enhanced performance, and reduced infrastructure costs.

The Importance of Hybrid Cloud Networking in Modern Business Environments

Hybrid cloud networking is increasingly becoming popular with modern businesses, as it provides the best of both worlds – on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure and services. Hybrid cloud networking effectively bridges the gap between the two SDWAN deployment strategies, allowing organizations to leverage the benefits of both SaaS and IaaS SDWAN deployments. It provides a way for organizations to easily scale their network, while remaining secure and compliant.

Tips for a Smooth Transition to either SaaS or IaaS-Based Networking Solutions

Transitioning to SaaS or IaaS-based networking solutions can be challenging, but with proper planning and execution, it can be a smooth process. Key tips for a successful transition include carefully assessing network and security needs, developing a clear roadmap for the transition, testing the solution before implementation, and closely monitoring the network after deployment.


Choosing the right SDWAN deployment strategy – SaaS-first or IaaS-first – requires careful consideration of multiple factors. Both strategies come with their pros and cons, requiring organizations to assess their specific needs before making a decision. As such, organizations must carefully assess their network and security needs, scalability concerns, and infrastructure requirements before embarking on a deployment. Ultimately, the key to a successful SDWAN deployment is choosing an approach that can help an organization achieve its desired outcomes while providing the necessary security, scalability, and agility.

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