Globalinternet: Elekta’s SD-WAN journey – Lessons learned and best practices

At Globalinternet’s Connectivity Circle event, we had the pleasure to sit together with our partner, Videns IT, and joint customer, Elekta, to share learnings from Elekta’s SD-WAN journey. These might be particularly interesting for enterprises who are transitioning to SD-WAN and considering replacing, partially or fully, their MPLS-based networks.

A few key lessons taken from this discussion include:

1. It’s no longer about why SD-WANbut when.

The benefits are clear and widely documented. SD-WAN helps enterprises with improving performance, flexibility and reliability. Moreover, in Elekta’s experience, whose MPLS has been fully replaced by internet, it has also proven to be notably cost-efficient.

In addition to these benefits, it’s important to stop and consider your options. Martin, from Elekta, suggests that when choosing an SD-WAN solution, to look for scalability, its ability to make integrations within your network, the availability across all your sites and your specific business requirements.

2. The importance of a challenging Proof of Concept (PoC)

Elekta’s PoC was highly valuable in their decision-making process, as well as further in their transition. They chose to do a proof of concept in their most difficult locations knowing that if this worked, other sites wouldn’t be an issue. Our Dutch-based SD-WAN implementation partner, Videns IT, confirmed this also helps companies to see an immediate difference in performance when comparing to MPLS.

After that successful PoC, Elekta continued to grow the solution from there. This also allowed for a quicker transition and full deployment to a global SD-WAN.

3. SD-WAN’s own limitations – learning about the first and middle mile.

During the panel, we couldn’t avoid talking about two items which are key when dealing with overlay solutions: the underlay and its transition from MPLS to internet (and if we should consider DIA, broadband or both), and the middle mile.

From working with different customers and in Elekta’s own experience, the benefit of replacing MPLS with DIA was quite obvious: comparable, or even better, resilience and bandwidth at a much lower cost. We also acknowledged that many companies are taking different approaches. One is to leave their critical applications with MPLS, others are moving fully to DIA, while others take DIA as the primary option, leaving broadband for back-up functions.

Finally, we at the panel were able to agree that a middle mile solution could assist globally dispersed enterprises to take full advantage of SD-WAN technologies.

The video goes on covering the Security aspect of SD-WAN and the public internet, Elekta’s next steps and some Q&A. Enjoy