April 17, 2024

SDWAN as a Service (SDWANaaS) Deployment vs Self-Hosted SDWAN Deployment

8 min read
Discover the pros and cons of deploying SDWAN as a Service (SDWANaaS) versus self-hosted SDWAN deployment.
Two different networks

Two different networks

When it comes to deploying a wide area network (WAN) solution for your business, there are two main options to consider: SDWAN as a Service (SDWANaaS) and self-hosted SDWAN. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to understand the differences between these two options to make an informed decision that meets your business needs.

Understanding the differences between SDWANaaS and self-hosted SDWAN

SDWANaaS is a cloud-based solution offered by a service provider that manages and operates the WAN infrastructure on behalf of your business. This means that all the hardware and software required to build and maintain your WAN are owned, hosted and managed by the service provider.

On the other hand, self-hosted SDWAN refers to an on-premises solution where your business owns, hosts and manages the WAN infrastructure, which may include hardware-based appliances, virtual appliances, or software-defined networking (SDN) controllers.

One of the main advantages of SDWANaaS is that it allows businesses to quickly and easily scale their WAN infrastructure as needed, without having to worry about purchasing and managing additional hardware or software. This can be particularly beneficial for businesses that experience sudden spikes in network traffic or need to quickly expand their network to support new locations or applications.

However, self-hosted SDWAN can offer greater control and customization options for businesses that have specific security or compliance requirements. With self-hosted SDWAN, businesses can implement their own security protocols and policies, and have greater visibility into their network traffic and performance.

Advantages of SDWANaaS over self-hosted SDWAN

One of the key advantages of SDWANaaS is that it reduces the need for upfront capital investment and ongoing maintenance costs. Service providers typically offer a subscription-based pricing model that allows your business to pay only for what it needs and avoid the burden of having to manage and maintain the physical infrastructure. This also means that your business can quickly scale up or down the WAN infrastructure to meet changing business needs without the need to budget for capital expenditures.

In addition to cost savings, SDWANaaS typically offers a faster deployment process, as the service provider is responsible for building and configuring the WAN infrastructure on your behalf. This can significantly reduce the time required for your business to deploy and manage a new WAN solution.

Another advantage of SDWANaaS is that it provides greater flexibility and agility in managing your WAN infrastructure. With self-hosted SDWAN, your business is responsible for managing and maintaining the physical infrastructure, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. With SDWANaaS, the service provider takes care of the infrastructure, allowing your business to focus on other critical tasks.

Furthermore, SDWANaaS typically offers better security features than self-hosted SDWAN. Service providers have the resources and expertise to implement advanced security measures, such as encryption and firewalls, to protect your network from cyber threats. This can provide your business with peace of mind, knowing that your network is secure and protected.

Benefits of self-hosted SDWAN over SDWANaaS

Although SDWANaaS can offer several benefits, self-hosted SDWAN may be a better fit for some businesses. For example, businesses that require complete control over their WAN infrastructure and are able to invest upfront in the hardware and software required may find self-hosted SDWAN to be a better option. This is because they are able to customize the solution to meet their specific needs and can ensure that the solution is highly secure.

Another advantage of self-hosted SDWAN is that it can offer better network performance in some cases. This is because the solution can be optimized based on the specific requirements of the business, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all solution with SDWANaaS.

Additionally, self-hosted SDWAN can provide greater flexibility in terms of network management. With self-hosted SDWAN, businesses have the ability to make changes to their network infrastructure in real-time, without having to rely on a third-party provider. This can be particularly beneficial for businesses that have rapidly changing network requirements or need to make frequent updates to their network infrastructure.

Cost comparison: which is more expensive, SDWANaaS or self-hosted?

The cost comparison between SDWANaaS and self-hosted SDWAN will vary depending on the specific needs of the business. In general, SDWANaaS may be more cost-effective for smaller businesses that do not have the resources to invest upfront in infrastructure and ongoing management costs.

However, for larger businesses with more complex requirements and the resources to manage the WAN infrastructure in-house, self-hosted SDWAN may be more cost-effective over the long term.

Deployment options: Choosing the right solution for your business needs

Both SDWANaaS and self-hosted SDWAN offer different deployment options, and it’s important to understand what each option entails before making a decision.

SDWANaaS is typically offered as a managed service, which means that the service provider will manage and maintain the solution on your behalf. This can be particularly useful for businesses that do not have the resources or expertise to manage the WAN infrastructure in-house.

On the other hand, self-hosted SDWAN can offer more deployment options, including hybrid deployment models that integrate with both on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure. This can allow businesses to customize the solution to meet their specific needs.

Security considerations: How does security differ between SDWANaaS and self-hosted?

Security is a critical consideration for any WAN deployment. Both SDWANaaS and self-hosted SDWAN can offer highly secure solutions, but the approach to security may differ.

With SDWANaaS, the service provider is responsible for ensuring the security of the WAN infrastructure, which may include data encryption, firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, and VPN support. This can provide peace of mind for businesses that do not have the resources or expertise to manage security themselves.

With self-hosted SDWAN, the business is responsible for ensuring the security of the WAN infrastructure. This can provide businesses with complete control over security measures and may be necessary for businesses that deal with highly sensitive data.

Scalability and flexibility: Which option offers better scalability and flexibility?

Both SDWANaaS and self-hosted SDWAN can offer scalability and flexibility, but the approach may differ.

With SDWANaaS, businesses can quickly and easily scale up or down the WAN infrastructure to meet changing business needs without the need for significant up-front investment or ongoing management costs. This can be particularly useful for businesses that experience rapid growth or fluctuations in demand.

With self-hosted SDWAN, scalability and flexibility may depend on the specific hardware and software implementation. However, the business has complete control over how the solution is scaled, which can allow for greater customization to meet specific needs.

Maintenance and support: What level of maintenance and support do you get with each option?

One of the key benefits of SDWANaaS is that the service provider is responsible for ongoing maintenance and support, which can reduce the burden on your business to manage the solution. This can include upgrades, patches, and troubleshooting.

With self-hosted SDWAN, maintenance and support is the responsibility of the business. This can be both a benefit and a drawback, as it allows the business to have more control over the solution but requires additional resources to manage and maintain the infrastructure.

Integration with existing systems: How easy is it to integrate SDWANaaS or self-hosted SDWAN into your existing systems?

Integration with existing systems is an important consideration when deploying a WAN solution. Both SDWANaaS and self-hosted SDWAN can offer integration with existing systems, but the process may differ.

With SDWANaaS, integration with existing systems may be easier as the service provider can manage the integration process on your behalf. This can provide a seamless integration experience for your business.

With self-hosted SDWAN, integration with existing systems may require more expertise and resources. However, businesses have complete control over the integration process and can customize the solution to meet specific needs.

Performance comparison: Which option delivers better network performance?

The performance comparison between SDWANaaS and self-hosted SDWAN will depend on the specific needs of the business and the hardware and software used.

In general, SDWANaaS can offer highly optimized network performance, as the solution is typically managed and optimized by the service provider. This can lead to faster deployment times and better overall network performance.

Self-hosted SDWAN can offer better network performance in some cases, particularly if the business has the expertise to optimize the solution based on specific requirements.

User experience comparison: What are the differences in user experience between SDWANaaS and self-hosted SDWAN?

The user experience between SDWANaaS and self-hosted SDWAN will depend on the specific solution deployed and the needs of the business.

In general, SDWANaaS can provide a simpler user experience, as the solution is managed and maintained by the service provider. This can provide businesses with peace of mind and allow them to focus on their core competencies.

Self-hosted SDWAN can offer a more complex user experience, as the business is responsible for managing and maintaining the WAN infrastructure. However, this can provide businesses with greater control and customization over the solution.

Choosing the right vendor for your WAN deployment needs.

When choosing a vendor for your WAN deployment needs, it’s important to consider several factors, including cost, scalability, security, and performance.

Before choosing a vendor, it’s important to do your research, ask for references and case studies, and compare different vendors based on your specific needs and requirements. This can help ensure that you choose a vendor that offers the right solution for your business needs.

Future-proofing your WAN deployment with the right solution choice.

When choosing a WAN deployment solution, it’s important to consider the long-term needs of your business. This includes factors such as scalability, integration with existing systems, and security.

By choosing a solution that is flexible and scalable, you can ensure that your business is able to adapt to changing business needs and requirements. In addition, choosing a solution that integrates seamlessly with your existing systems can help streamline operations and reduce costs.

Finally, choosing a solution that offers strong security measures can help protect your business against cyber threats and provide peace of mind for you and your customers.

Case studies: Real-world examples of businesses who have deployed either SDWANaaS or self-hosted options, and their experiences.

Many businesses have taken different approaches to WAN deployment, including SDWANaaS and self-hosted options. Here are a few examples of businesses and their experiences with these solutions:

Case study 1:

ABC Company, a small marketing agency, chose to deploy SDWANaaS to meet their WAN needs. This allowed them to quickly deploy a customized solution that met their specific requirements without the need for significant upfront costs or ongoing maintenance.

Case study 2:

XYZ Company, a large financial institution, chose to deploy self-hosted SDWAN to meet their WAN needs. This allowed them to have complete control and customization over their WAN infrastructure and ensure that it met their high security requirements.

Best practices for successful WAN deployments, regardless of the chosen solution.

Regardless of the solution chosen, there are several best practices that businesses can follow to ensure a successful WAN deployment:

  • Define clear business objectives and requirements
  • Choose a solution that meets those objectives and requirements
  • Deploy the solution in phases to minimize disruption
  • Conduct regular testing and monitoring to ensure performance and security
  • Train employees on how to use the solution effectively

Conclusion: Making an informed decision on whether to deploy SDWAN as a Service (SDWANaaS) or a Self-Hosted Solution

Deploying a WAN solution is an important decision that can have a significant impact on the success of your business. When choosing between SDWANaaS and self-hosted SDWAN, it’s important to consider factors such as cost, scalability, security, and performance to make an informed decision.

Regardless of the solution chosen, following best practices for deployment and ongoing management can help ensure a successful outcome. By doing your research, asking for references and case studies, and comparing different vendors based on your specific needs and requirements, you can choose a solution that meets your business needs and sets you up for success in the long term.

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