We usually associate the term “white glove,” with service that goes above and beyond the normal. One that brings everything to the customer, leaving no detail to chance or overlooked. This perfectionist approach is how some SD-WAN as-a-Service providers describe the way they do business.
A service provider that offers an SD-WAN white glove service cares about getting their network and application delivery infrastructure right, from beginning to end. SD-WAN providers that offer flexible service options enable the customer to tailor their SD-WAN according to their business and technical needs.
White glove SD-WAN service can include an array of business benefits, including:
- Fault-tolerant technical WAN design
- Dedicated pre/post sale engineering support
- Dedicated project implementation management
- Professional on-site SD-WAN installation
- Configuration and activation
- Pro-active SD-WAN and Internet circuit monitoring and management 24/7/365
- 100% invoice accuracy with SLA guarantees
White glove SD-WAN service deployments are always customized to meet the expectations and requirements of their customers. With every SD-WAN deployment, the assigned engineering and implementation teams conduct a client kick-off meeting. During this meeting, they typically discuss deployment best-practices and establish customer expectations.
An overall network diagram is provided, based on the information gathered for the customer and any other stakeholders, to approve prior to deployment. The SD-WAN service provider works with the customer to identify their business applications and develop any business policies and/or firewall rules that will be deployed on the SD-WAN.
Sales and solutions engineering teams work with the customer to validate the goals and deployment architecture. Customer engagement encompasses deep dive architecture planning sessions, where the deployment is mapped out in detail. This includes identifying how the SD-WAN fits into the overall network architecture. VLANs, subnets, public connections, are all mapped out, down to which ports they will terminate on the SD-WAN devices, as well as where they interface with upstream and downstream devices.
Upon completion, a customized project plan detailing deployment milestones and achievements is provided. They should also provide weekly status updates throughout the process, to ensure optimal delivery of the solution.
On deployment day, the SD-WAN devices arrive preconfigured with all of the VLANs, subnets, and policies previously outlined. The SD-WAN service provider’s engineering team will work hand-in-hand with the customer to bring the devices online, integrate them into the network, ensure they meet expectations and solve the underlying problems.
The SD-WAN edges and associated circuits, regardless of whether or not the circuits were purchased from the SD-WAN service provider, are added to their 24/7 network operations center (NOC) for monitoring of errors and issues. The SD-WAN service provider NOC can identify and resolve issues prior to customers noticing or reporting them.
The SD-WAN service provider administrative model can also be one of shared administration, if the customer desires and has the technical expertise. This means the SD-WAN service provider will not lock customers out of accessing the SD-WAN controller admin console for changes or monitoring. They will work with customers to make changes on their behalf, act as a technical resource when they want to make their own changes or take their requirements and execute them as needed. Often, an SD-WAN service provider will work with customers in a fashion that is a combination of all of these.
Post deployment, additional follow up from the sales and engineering teams ensures everything is going well and identifies any further need for follow up or configuration changes.
A Reference Architecture Establishes Best Practices
The network architecture is the cornerstone for all of an SD-WAN service deployment. In virtually all cases, the customer’s existing network architecture is taken into account, when designing the SD-WAN. To that end, the SD-WAN service provider establishes a “reference architecture”, which is a set of documents that project managers, engineers, and others within the enterprise can refer to for best practices. This enables the SD-WAN service provider to more easily address dynamic, and abstract network architectures.
The reference architecture includes the design and implementation guidance needed for custom applications, cloud, voice and WAN design. With this well-documented approach, the SD-WAN service provider is able to expedite deployment and meet the needs of all associated user groups – including security, networks, servers, applications, and development teams – and their logical components and interrelationships.