July 18, 2024

Self-Managed SDWAN Deployment vs Managed Service Provider (MSP) SDWAN Deployment

8 min read
This article explores the pros and cons of self-managed SDWAN deployment versus relying on a managed service provider (MSP) for SDWAN deployment.
Two networks side-by-side

Two networks side-by-side

In today‚Äôs digital age, where connectivity is critical for business success, the reliability and security of Wide-Area Network (WAN) infrastructure is more important than ever. The emergence of Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SDWAN) technology in recent years has brought about a significant shift in how organizations approach WAN architecture and deployment. But when it comes to utilizing SDWAN technology, organizations are often left with a choice between two deployment methods: Self-Managed or Managed Service Provider (MSP) SDWAN deployment. In this article, we will provide an in-depth comparison of the two approaches, and help you determine which is the best fit for your organization’s unique needs.

Understanding the basics of SDWAN deployment

Before we dive into the comparison, it’s essential to understand the basics of SDWAN deployment. SDWAN is a software-driven approach to manage, optimize and secure WAN connections among different locations, including data centers, branch offices, and cloud resources. Unlike traditional WAN architecture, SDWAN technology is designed to work with commodity Internet links as well as private circuits. SDWAN offers several benefits, including enhanced security, improved network quality, reduced operational costs, and simplified network management.

One of the key features of SDWAN is its ability to dynamically route traffic based on application requirements and network conditions. This means that critical applications can be prioritized and routed through the most optimal path, ensuring that they receive the necessary bandwidth and low latency. Additionally, SDWAN can detect and mitigate network issues in real-time, such as packet loss, jitter, and latency, to ensure that the network is always performing at its best.

Another advantage of SDWAN is its ability to provide centralized management and visibility of the entire network. This allows network administrators to easily configure and monitor the network from a single console, reducing the complexity and time required for network management. Furthermore, SDWAN can integrate with other network and security technologies, such as firewalls and VPNs, to provide a comprehensive and secure network infrastructure.

The pros and cons of self-managed SDWAN deployment

Self-managed SDWAN deployment is when an organization decides to implement and manage the technology in-house on its own network infrastructure. Self-managed SDWAN deployment offers several advantages, including enhanced control over network infrastructure and better customization options. Organizations can leverage their existing IT resources and internal expertise to manage SDWAN deployment efficiently. However, self-managed SDWAN deployment also has some drawbacks, including increased complexity and the potential for operational challenges.

One of the benefits of self-managed SDWAN deployment is that it allows organizations to have greater visibility into their network traffic. This can help them identify and address issues more quickly, as well as optimize network performance. Additionally, self-managed SDWAN deployment can be more cost-effective in the long run, as organizations do not have to pay for ongoing managed services.

On the other hand, self-managed SDWAN deployment requires a significant investment in time and resources to set up and maintain. Organizations must have the necessary expertise and infrastructure in place to manage the technology effectively. Additionally, self-managed SDWAN deployment may not be suitable for organizations with limited IT resources or those that require a more hands-off approach to network management.

The benefits and drawbacks of MSP SDWAN deployment

In contrast, MSP SDWAN deployment is when an organization outsources the deployment, management, and maintenance of SDWAN infrastructure to a third-party managed service provider. MSP SDWAN deployment has its advantages, including reduced operational complexity and better scalability options. Additionally, MSPs have the necessary expertise, resources, and infrastructure to offer well-managed, secure SDWAN services. On the other hand, MSP SDWAN deployment can be more expensive than self-managed SDWAN deployment as the organizations must pay a service fee to the MSP.

Another potential drawback of MSP SDWAN deployment is the loss of control over the SDWAN infrastructure. Since the MSP is responsible for managing and maintaining the infrastructure, the organization may not have as much visibility or control over the network as they would with self-managed SDWAN deployment. Additionally, if the MSP experiences any issues or downtime, the organization may have to rely on the MSP to resolve the issue, which could result in longer resolution times and potential business disruptions.

Key differences between self-managed SDWAN and MSP SDWAN deployment

When choosing the best deployment strategy, it’s vital to understand the key differences between self-managed SDWAN and MSP SDWAN deployment. Self-managed deployment provides more control and customization options, but it comes with increased complexity and operational challenges. In contrast, MSP SDWAN deployment reduces operational complexity, but it can be more expensive than self-managed SDWAN deployment.

Another important factor to consider when choosing between self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployment is the level of expertise required. Self-managed deployment requires a team with advanced networking skills to manage and troubleshoot the network. On the other hand, MSP SDWAN deployment allows organizations to leverage the expertise of the service provider, who has a team of experienced professionals to manage the network. This can be particularly beneficial for organizations with limited IT resources or those looking to focus on their core business activities.

Factors to consider when choosing between self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployment

Several factors must be considered when choosing between self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployment. Firstly, if an organization has experienced IT personnel, the self-managed option might be the better fit. Conversely, if an organization does not have the necessary resources or expertise, an MSP deployment may be more appropriate, especially for organizations lacking the required IT personnel to deploy and operate SDWAN infrastructure. Second, scalability requirements should be considered. If an organization has growth aspirations or needs to expand quickly, MSP SDWAN deployment may be the better option as MSPs usually have the required infrastructure and expertise to execute such deployments. Conversely, self-managed deployments may be more suitable for smaller organizations that do not anticipate significant growth in the near future.

Another factor to consider is the level of control an organization wants over their SDWAN deployment. Self-managed deployments provide organizations with complete control over their SDWAN infrastructure, allowing them to customize and optimize their network to their specific needs. On the other hand, MSP deployments may limit the level of control an organization has over their SDWAN infrastructure, as the MSP may have their own policies and procedures in place. Additionally, organizations should consider the cost implications of each deployment option. Self-managed deployments may require significant upfront investment in infrastructure and personnel, while MSP deployments may have ongoing subscription fees. Ultimately, the decision between self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployment will depend on an organization’s specific needs and resources.

Cost comparison: self-managed vs MSP SDWAN deployment

Cost is a crucial consideration for most organizations when deciding between self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployment. Self-managed SDWAN deployment is usually more cost-effective as organizations can leverage existing IT personnel and infrastructure, reducing overall expenditure. Additionally, with self-managed SDWAN deployment, organizations can select and purchase only the hardware and software they require, further cutting costs. MSP SDWAN deployment, on the other hand, can be more expensive since an organization must pay for the services provided by the MSP.

However, it is important to note that self-managed SDWAN deployment requires a higher level of expertise and resources to manage and maintain the network. This can result in additional costs for training and hiring IT personnel with the necessary skills. In contrast, MSP SDWAN deployment provides access to a team of experts who can manage and maintain the network, reducing the burden on internal IT resources.

Another factor to consider is the scalability of the SDWAN deployment. Self-managed SDWAN deployment may be suitable for small to medium-sized organizations with limited network requirements. However, as the organization grows and the network becomes more complex, it may become more cost-effective to switch to MSP SDWAN deployment, which can provide the necessary scalability and flexibility to meet the organization’s evolving needs.

Operational challenges of self-managed SDWAN deployment

While self-managed SDWAN deployment is more cost-effective, it can be operationally challenging and complex. Organizations must have skilled IT personnel to deploy and manage SDWAN infrastructure. Additionally, self-managed SDWAN deployment can be time-consuming and requires in-depth technical knowledge, which may be challenging to acquire. Organizations must weigh the potential operational challenges of self-managed deployment against the benefits of having more control over network infrastructure.

Ease of management with MSP SDWAN deployment

MSP SDWAN deployment reduces operational complexity by providing a managed service offering. MSPs usually offer secure, optimized, and scalable SDWAN services, handling all aspects of deployment, management, and maintenance. The MSPs offer proactive monitoring and management, providing a high level of quality of service. MSP SDWAN deployment is ideal for organizations that lack expertise in SDWAN deployment or do not want to allocate resources and time to manage SDWAN infrastructure.

Scalability considerations for both self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployments

Scalability is a crucial factor for future business growth, and SDWAN deployment should be evaluated accordingly. Both self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployment can scale, but organizations must choose the deployment method that fits their specific scalability requirements. MSP SDWAN deployment provides an infrastructure with the necessary capacity and expertise to meet future requirements, while self-managed SDWAN deployment must be evaluated more extensively to ensure it can adequately scale to match the demands of future business growth.

Security implications with self-managed vs MSP SDWAN deployment

Another critical consideration when choosing between self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployment is security. SDWAN deployment is an essential component in a secure network. A secure SDWAN deployment must provide encrypted connections, and strict access control mechanisms to prevent unauthorized access, and application-level threat protection. Self-managed SDWAN deployment implies more control over security mechanisms, but it requires more knowledge, expertise, and resources. MSP SDWAN deployment, on the other hand, offers well-managed, secure services that are monitored 24/7, backed by service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee uptime and data protection.

Performance evaluation: Self-managed vs MSP SDWAN deployment

Performance is an essential consideration when evaluating SDWAN deployment. SDWAN deployment must provide stable and fast connections that meet business needs. Self-managed SDWAN deployment provides more control over the hardware and software in the deployment, enabling fine-tuned performance optimization. This level of control can be advantageous for organizations that have particular performance requirements. In contrast, MSP SDWAN deployment provides a managed service offering that is optimized to provide the best level of performance and to ensure that SLAs are met.

Case studies: successful implementations of self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployments

Before selecting a deployment method, it is essential to review successful implementations of both self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployments. Case studies provide real-world examples of how each method has been used successfully, including how organizations addressed any challenges or issues encountered during the deployment process. The implementation method chosen must align with the specific needs and goals of an organization.

Future trends in the adoption of self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployment

SDWAN technology is continually evolving, and the adoption of self-managed and MSP SDWAN deployment is expected to increase in the coming years. Self-managed deployments are expected to gain momentum, especially among large organizations with IT resources, while MSP deployment is anticipated to be more prevalent among smaller organizations lacking IT resources.

Conclusion: which option is best for your organization?

In Conclusion, the choice between self-managed SDWAN deployment and MSP SDWAN deployment will depend on several factors. Organizations must evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each method and consider the IT resources available, scalability requirements, cost implications, and security considerations. While self-managed SDWAN deployment provides more control, it comes with increased operational complexity and requires extensive technical knowledge. MSP SDWAN deployment, on the other hand, reduces operational complexity, but it can be more expensive. Ultimately, the organization must choose the deployment method that best aligns with its specific business and IT needs.

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