SD-WAN Migrations: Why & How to Monitor Them

   SD-WAN Migrations: Why & How to Monitor Them

Many companies are making the move to SD-WAN. But as they make the change, many forget the importance of monitoring your SD-WAN migration. It's crucial to keep an eye on network performance during the migration to SD-WAN, including before, during, and after, to guarantee a successful transition.

Why switch to SD-WAN

As more companies shift to cloud-based applications, the need for Internet-based WAN traffic has increased. To adapt to this change, many businesses are replacing their MPLS networks with hybrid WANs and SD-WAN.

Unlike MPLS networks that rely on private links, SD-WAN utilizes the Internet connection to provide better bandwidth and local Internet access.

This flexibility also allows SD-WAN to support the growing use of SASE architectures and cloud-based applications, something MPLS networks cannot accommodate.

Additionally, SD-WAN can route data through the most efficient path, including directly through the cloud, ultimately resulting in cost savings.

Why monitor the transition to SD-WAN

A common issue during this migration to SD-WAN is a lack of visibility into the SD-WAN service.

SD-WAN vendors often boast about the abilities of SD-WAN to improve network performance,but what they don’t often tell you is that the native monitoring features of SD-WAN services don’t often have the depth required to monitor a complex SD-WAN network. So they miss a lot of instances of network performance degradation.

SD-WAN native monitoring features also can’t monitor performance before your migration. This is extremely important to catch problems that may impact the migration.

In addition, most traditional centralized solutions are not built to monitor distributed architectures like SD-WAN. They cannot monitor decentralized network locations or the end-user perspective, making it difficult to assess if the promised service quality is being met.

Here’s why you need a solution that can monitor your SD-WAN migration:

  • Verify that there are no problems before the migration takes place
  • Discover any problems that may occur during the migration process
  • Compare the performance of the old network with the new SD-WAN network
  • Determine if the new SD-WAN network is fulfilling the service level agreement (SLA)

Here’s how to do that.

1. Use an SD-WAN Monitoring Tool

As mentioned earlier, SD-WAN native monitoring features can’t monitor before your migration, and traditional centralized monitoring solutions that only monitor network equipment can’t properly monitor distributed SD-WAN networks. So you need a solution that does.

To properly monitor your SD-WAN migration, use a distributed SD-WAN Monitoring Tool that can monitor all SD-WAN network sites, from the end-user point of view.

SD-WAN Monitoring is a feature of a Network Performance Monitoring tool. This tool continually analyzes the performance of the entire SD-WAN network from all locations, to identify problems affecting your network as soon as they happen.

This is generally achieved using monitoring sensors or agents deployed in network locations that exchange traffic between each other.

2. Prepare for the migration

It's crucial to implement a monitoring solution before the SD-WAN migration to identify any problems in your current network infrastructure that will cause problems during the migration. If any issues are detected, you need to resolve them before.

Implementing network monitoring before also allows you to compare the performance before and after the migration, so you can see if your network performance has actually improved with your new SD-WAN network.

To monitor network performance before migrating to SD-WAN, deploy monitoring sensors or agents in the local network, as well as agents that monitor performance between remote offices, your company's main location, data centers, and clouds.

With this setup, you can see the current state of your network, and any problems that could affect your migration.

After your SD-WAN migration, continue to monitor performance from the end-user perspective,as well as the underlay connections themselves, to see how your new SD-WAN service is performing.

3. Monitor during the migration

After deploying and resolving any issues, it's time to proceed with the SD-WAN migration. If you deployed your SD-WAN Monitoring Tool before the migration, you’ll be able ensure that no issues happen during the migration.

For example, let’s say you’re migrating from a low-bandwidth MPLS connection to an SD-WAN service with two broadband connections. If packet loss occurs in your network, you’ll be able to see your SD-WAN service switch from the primary ISP to the secondary ISP.

4. Monitor after the migration

Once you’ve migrated to SD-WAN, you need to continue monitoring your SD-WAN network to proactively identify any issues and optimize its performance. Your SD-WAN Monitoring tool will continue to help you with this.

This is the setup you need for monitoring SD-WAN:

  • A local monitoring sensor/ agent installed behind the SD-WAN appliance
  • And three remote monitoring sensors /agenta deployed in locations like clouds, data centers, and branch offices

With this setup, you’ll be able to monitor the performance of SD-WAN:

A. ISP 1 connection
B. SP 2 connection
C. From the end-user perspective (load balanced between the connection using the SD-WAN algorithm)

5. Evaluate historical data for the migration

Comparing performance data before and after your SD-WAN migration is a crucial aspect of understanding the impact of the SD-WAN migration on the network.

Your tool, like Obkio SD-WAN Monitoring tool, will collect and measure historical network performance data. This makes it easy to analyze, compare, and troubleshoot past performance, both before and after the SD-WAN migration.

By evaluating historical data, you can go back in time and detect network problems that were not resolved in the past, and may cause problems in the future.

It will also allow you to see if your network performance actually did improve from deploying SD-WAN, and if your SD-WAN vendor upheld the promises they made for their SD-WAN service.

6. Find & solve issues related to SD-WAN

Although SD-WAN networks promise greater performance than older MPLS networks, they’re still bound to experience issues just like any other network.

SD-WAN networks can be prone to local loop issues, high bandwidth and high CPU. So it’s important to keep monitoring your SD-WAN service even after migrating to ensure optimal performance and ensure that you got what you paid for.

As mentioned earlier, SD-WAN’s native monitoring features don’t have the level of detail needed to monitor every aspect of SD-WAN. Which is why your SD-WAN Monitoring tool will act as your personal network admin to proactively identify SD-WAN problems, and give you the data you need to solve them.