Three things to look for in an SDN provider

With more and more companies turning to SDN to transform their networking capabilities, choosing a provider with the strategic insight, experience, solutions and stability to keep your business differentiated is critical. Here are three key considerations to help you pick a winner.

1. Managed WAN services

Managed WAN services cover the equipment, features and functionality that carriers offer in their network and at the customer point of demarcation. They are a collection of value-added capabilities that include monitoring and reporting, security and outsourced customer premise functions.

What should you look for

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Look For:
  • Service tiers - A provider with three tiers of service for: IT infrastructure, app management and networking.
  • Industry rankings - Take into consideration any industry rankings for the best-performing managed WAN companies on a global level.
     

2. SDN transformation services

Today’s companies require a flexible network environment that can adapt to changes quickly and with minimum human intervention. SDN transformation services manage network elements using software-defined policies and rule-based controls. The data transport path and routing, including the quality of service level, bandwidth assignment, provisioning and modification of switches and hubs and their rules are performed automatically, and overall security is maintained from the edge to the data center. Companies benefit from a more agile and flexible network to support their digital business initiatives.

What should you look for

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Look For:
  • Multiple services - A provider with adaptive networking and IT Solutions that cover SDN, network and cloud connectivity, managed services and IT consulting expertise.
  • Global infrastructure - Consider deep vertical industries know-how and the presence of a global infrastructure network.

3. SDN network technologies
(mobile to edge)

SDN delivers network agility and automation, while substantially reducing the cost of network operations compared to traditional network implementations. Deploying an industry standard data plane abstraction protocol (such as OpenFlow) allows the use of any type and brand of data plane devices as all the underlying network hardware is addressable through a common abstraction protocol. Further management benefits can be gained by deploying SD access in branch/edge, including all customer premises equipment (CPE, referenced as virtual CPE or vCPE in SDN terms) and associated WiFi networks, access points (APs), software-defined mobile network (SDMN), software-defined local area network (SD-LAN), which includes both wireless (SD-WLAN) or mobile (SD-WMLAN).

What should you look for

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Look For:
  • Adaptive network - A company with adaptive networking solutions, SD-WAN as a service to cover both core and edge, and application and performance-aware routing with full flexibility in appliance deployments based on uCPE.
  • Client - A client and end-user centric company that incorporates AI, fault and engineering fix information, order and remedial management.
  • Simple billing - Billing and usage systems that make edge or branch accounting simple.
A recent report from ISG Provider Lens™ compared a wide range of WAN and SDN providers and found CenturyLink was a leader in three key areas of the SDN market: Managed WAN, SDN transformation services and SDN network technologies (mobile to edge).
 
Read the report to learn more.

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