๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Unleashing the Power of Last Mile SD-WAN in South Africa: Crafting a Business Case for Transformation when Migrating from MPLS๐Ÿ•ธ๏ธ

๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Unleashing the Power of Last Mile SD-WAN in South Africa: Crafting a Business Case for Transformation when Migrating from MPLS๐Ÿ•ธ๏ธ

๐Ÿš€ Load shedding from Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd giving your MPLS network the blues? Time to level up with SD-WAN โ€“ the ultimate game-changer in South Africa's connectivity safari! ๐Ÿฆ๐ŸŒ


3 min read

In the ever-evolving landscape of business connectivity, the shift from traditional MPLS to SD-WAN is not just a technological upgrade; it's a strategic move towards efficiency, agility, and cost-effectiveness. For South African businesses, the transition carries unique challenges and opportunities, especially in the face of load shedding. Crafting a robust business case for SD-WAN involves understanding the pain points of MPLS, recognizing the specific drivers for change, and quantifying the tangible benefits that SD-WAN brings to the table. The days of having all your eggs in one basket from players like Telkom, Dimension Data, MTN, Vodacom or Liquid are numbered.

The Load Shedding Dilemma: MPLS vs. SD-WAN

South Africa's notorious load shedding not only disrupts operations at individual branches but also impacts the entire MPLS path, causing widespread connectivity issues. SD-WAN proves to be a game-changer in this scenario. By utilizing broadband circuits, SD-WAN mitigates the impact of load shedding, ensuring continuous connectivity and operational resilience.

Complexity and Implementation Costs: MPLS vs. SD-WAN

One of the primary hurdles with MPLS is its complexity and the associated implementation costs. Unlike the weeks-long pain of MPLS setup, SD-WAN can be orchestrated within seconds. This acceleration in deployment translates directly into cost savings, allowing branches to become operational faster and reducing the financial burden associated with implementation delays.

Network Architecture: MPLS Hub-and-Spoke vs. SD-WAN Flexibility

MPLS networks often adopt a hub-and-spoke model, which increases the probability of failure, especially when the hub is at a distant headquarters. SD-WAN facilitates a more resilient architecture by allowing the hub to be strategically located in a co-location data center, such as NAPAfrica. This not only enhances network reliability but also ensures that the failure of a headquarters does not cripple the entire branch network.

Built-in Monitoring and Analytics: SD-WANโ€™s Cost Advantage

SD-WAN comes with built-in monitoring and analytics capabilities, eliminating the need for additional expenditures on WAN tools. such as Solarwinds or Iris. This cost advantage allows businesses to allocate budgets more efficiently, focusing on essential endpoint and server management tools rather than investing in supplementary network management software.

Cloud Adoption: MPLS vs. SD-WAN

MPLS is not inherently cloud-native, and as businesses migrate more services to the cloud, MPLS can become a bottleneck, hindering availability and service levels. SD-WAN, designed with cloud compatibility in mind, seamlessly integrates with cloud services, ensuring optimal performance and efficiency in a cloud-centric business environment.

Creating a Business Case: Key Components

To build a compelling business case for SD-WAN, businesses need to gather essential information, including:

  1. Total Network Spend: Sum of all costs associated with hardware, software, services, project implementation, and monthly recurring charges.

  2. Site Details: A comprehensive list of sites, their addresses, GPS coordinates, allocated bandwidth, and associated costs to isolate MPLS bills per site.

  3. Firewall Costs: The costs related to procuring and maintaining central firewalls.

  4. Downtime Metrics: Duration of downtime per site per month, considering the number of employees at each location.

  5. Cost of Downtime: The financial impact of one hour's downtime, factoring in average salaries, opportunity costs, and potential lost revenue.

  6. Logistical Costs: Charges incurred for extra logistics, such as redirecting work to another location during downtime.

  7. Supplementary Costs: Expenses related to network management subscriptions, including hosting charges for software like netflow.

Wrap: Embracing SD-WAN for a Future-Ready Network

In crafting a business case for SD-WAN, businesses in South Africa can unlock a transformative journey towards a future-ready network. SD-WAN not only addresses the specific challenges posed by load shedding but also provides a cost-effective, agile, and resilient solution for the dynamic business landscape. It's not just a technological upgrade; it's a strategic imperative for those aiming to thrive in the digital era.

Ronald Bartels ensures that Internet inhabiting things are connected reliably online at Fusion Broadband South Africa - the leading specialized SD-WAN provider in South Africa.

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Originally published on LinkedIn by Ronald Bartels: