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Best Practices for Assuring SD-WAN Performance

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Tips for Transit: SD-WAN Best Practices to Assure Performance

By Enrique Perez
| August 25, 2021 | 7 min read

Summary

Network leaders must equip themselves with the proper visibility tools to prevent performance issues from negatively impacting your SD-WAN rollout.


Digital transformation is magnifying and multiplying at an accelerated pace across industries and regions, and nowhere is this change more evident than in the enterprise network. SD-WANs are fast becoming the wide-area network (WAN) standard for organizations looking to increase business agility at a reduced cost, with spending on SD-WAN technologies slated to increase by 32 percent this year. This trend is further bolstered by the additional $20 billion that companies plan to spend on SaaS in 2021 in support of their remote and hybrid workers, which are likely to remain distributed at elevated levels beyond year-end.

At the foundation of every SD-WAN migration is performance, and performance issues can act like cracks to that foundation that jeopardize your house, or in this case, your successful SD-WAN project rollout. To safeguard, network leaders must equip themselves with the right tools to quickly find the root cause of any issue and track user experience before, during, and after a rollout to ensure quality digital experiences reach employee screens.

Find the Root Cause of Any Issue

Through providers, enterprises get limited visibility into the SD-WAN tunnel/overlay but often lack visibility into all the dependencies that run along with the Internet transit underlay. Yet to deliver today’s requirement of exceptional user experiences, network leaders need to manage a myriad of dependencies outside of their control, such as cloud-based security, SaaS apps, and hybrid-cloud environments.

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Figure 1. Layers of visibility possible with ThousandEyes

Visibility gaps in the SD-WAN underlay stand to disrupt service levels and delay the identification and resolution of reported problems. Gone are the days when find-and-fix could serve as the modus operandi for IT departments. Instead, in this new enterprise reality, you need to escalate issues to the right providers to get any resolution. And for that, you need network-agnostic evidence that tells you where and when a problem is, or has, occurred.


Learn more about SD-WAN challenges and opportunities in this eBook


Validate Without Question

Correlated and application-aware monitoring of your production path is essential to validating configuration issues and understanding the impact of an SD-WAN adoption on branch office performance. Questionable branch readiness with vague project success metrics hurts SD-WAN rollouts because the lack of a baseline can leave one in the dark about where performance improved and where it fell behind its objectives.

To allow you to quickly get hop-by-hop visibility into the network underlay, including detailed path and performance metrics, ThousandEyes is natively integrated within Cisco SD-WAN routing platforms. Embedded on supported Cisco Catalyst® 8300 and 8200 Series Edge Platforms and Cisco 4000 Series Integrated Service Routers (ISRs) running Cisco IOS® XE version 17.6.1 or newer, ThousandEyes agents make monitoring possible from the edge to the Internet, cloud, and SaaS with simplified, mass activation through Cisco vManage.



Approach ISPs Confidently with Evidence

With each hop, ThousandEyes shows you the IP address of the device, the network owner, the geographic location, and metrics for root-cause analysis like latency and packet loss. This event insight can then be saved and operationalized using ThousandEyes ShareLinks™, which provides collaborators with a time-specific, fully interactive view to quicken event analysis and problem-solving. So, when issues arise with your ISP, you can approach them confidently with evidence that gets you to past tier 1 support to someone who can affect change and improve your SD-WAN performance.


Want to see a use case and demo? Sign up and view our ThousandEyes webinar “Best Practices for Assuring SD-WAN Performance.”


In this webinar, presenters Ian Waters, Senior Director of EMEA Marketing, and Tim Hale, Senior Solutions Engineer, walk you through a case involving the SD-WAN migration of an enterprise’s Seattle-based branch office. Unusually, following its switch from MPLS to SD-WAN, this organization started receiving alerts of high packet loss. Something went wrong with the SD-WAN rollout. But what? Watch the webinar to learn the details of what occurred, and the course of action used to identify and resolve the root cause before it impacted end users at the branch office.

More Uptime for Strategic Functions

Of significance in this Seattle branch office use case are several benefits key to business outcomes. Avoiding a costly war room scenario spares engineering resources from diverting from more useful strategic functions. The continuous uptime that you get when you proactively test for performance of SD-WAN components helps to ensure employee productivity during work hours throughout the organization. And visibility into SaaS connectivity and drops in availability enable you to verify committed operation-level agreements (OLAs) and service-level agreements (SLAs) with ease.


If you are interested in making your SD-WAN rollout an unquestionable success, sign up for a free ThousandEyes trial today to get started.

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