I’ve been asked a couple of times recently whether our support for SD-WAN is a bit like turkeys voting for Christmas? After all, Redcentric has built a business on managed networking and the delivery of high-end MPLS connectivity – why would we be championing a cheaper alternative to MPLS and the return of (a degree of) client control when it comes to management of the environment? The answer is the same as we give to those who question our embracing of public Cloud: it’s never been about the hardware or commodities we sell, it’s about the solutions we offer and the customers we serve. Our starting point has always been: what’s the best option for our customer? Back in the day, we made the case for fully managed networks or data hosting in our own data centres, based on the customers’ needs then. But times change and what we actually sell and implement changes with it – what doesn’t change is our commitment to always aligning the tech to the requirement. And just as hybrid Cloud is becoming the de facto enterprise computing model, so a hybrid approach to networking is making a strong claim for legitimacy. A quick scan through any number of SD-WAN articles will give you the PR highlights – reduced reliance on expensive connectivity, faster provisioning times, easier and quicker configuration/administration, no compromise on security, and high quality, cost-efficient performance. What’s not to like? Exactly, there’s a lot to like about it and it makes sense to utilise its potential – where it is right to do so. One of the things customers look to us for when discussing hybrid Cloud strategies is all of that agnostic knowledge and experience that can help them process all the options, with client and supplier determining together the optimum route forward. It’s no different with SD-WAN. It’s a market already flooded with competing products, all slightly nuanced but together a powerful and seductive voice calling for an end to MPLS dependency. For some organisations, that might be a workable scenario, to drop MPLS in favour of SD-WAN. But just as we are seeing with hybrid Cloud, the more likely option is a balanced or blended approach, at least in the short to medium term. After all, the motivation is exactly the same: optimum performance at optimum cost. Whether it’s workload placement or data transfer, everyone wants to be getting the best for the least. It’s just that that equation can be very hard to compute, given how many competing factors and demands you have to take into consideration. So our value is not in providing MPLS connectivity or SD-WAN networking devices, our value is in helping our customers on the journey, whether that is their route to the Cloud or their progress on any other modernisation project. Now part of that journey may mean we end up with a slightly different connectivity portfolio for a client; the bit that matters is that we still have the relationship. And we might relinquish some management control so that clients can leverage SD-WAN’s zero-touch provisioning capability – when it comes to regular configuration changes, it affords them an immediacy, agility and frictionless process that’s very desirable indeed. And that’s fine by us too: we’re not stepping away, we’re just stepping to the side. What’s important to us is helping customers navigate the myriad choices, synthesizing everything we know about the technologies and everything we have learnt about the client to come up with a genuinely optimum solution design – and then delivering it, supporting it overall and, critically, continuing to support the client too, preferably for for the duration. We know that technology and business will always be fluid; a managed service provider can be a useful constant. For more information, contact the team on 0800 983 2522 or email email@example.com.