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From Concept to Execution: WhiteSpider's Comprehensive SD-WAN Design Blueprint

With being the first MSP globally to achieve the ‘Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Managed Services Advanced Certification’ back in 2019, we know what we are talking about when it comes to designing and deploying SD-WAN.  

This blog is the last one of a three-post series and if you haven’t read the two previous blogs, we recommend checking them out first.  

Get up to speed and read: 

Unlocking Business Potential: Why SD-WAN Should Be Your Next Move  

Followed by: 

How to Assess a Strong SD-WAN Partner: Building Trust and Choosing the Right Fit 

Or, if you want to get straight into it, read on!  

WhiteSpider’s SD-Wan Design Process 

Our team of technical experts have developed a comprehensive, yet straightforward, 6-step SD-WAN design process. Whether you have a brownfield or greenfield architecture, this process is the key to understanding how we can renew your architecture to best suit your business’s needs.  

Step 1: Requirements Capture 

This stage is the most important. 

What this stage involves is our technical experts taking the time to really understand what your specific requirements are. This is usually an on-site meeting, where you will be asked questions like:  

  • What is it you are trying to achieve?  
  • What are your IT goals now and for the future?  
  • Are there any KPIs that you are hoping to hit with this project? i.e. efficiency, cost reduction/optimisation etc. 
  • What are your pain points with your current architecture?  

The reason we have the initial ‘Requirements Capture’ on-site is so that we can understand your business and processes on a deeper level. It's also the perfect time to have a Whiteboarding Session where we can brainstorm design ideas together. At the end of the day, you know your current architecture better than us, so this step is essential in the transfer of knowledge from you to our team of technical experts.  

Depending on what you mention here, will impact how we recommend designing your new architecture. One of the things we are passionate about here at WhiteSpider is providing a customer-centric approach; meaning we will only provide recommendations that are beneficial to you, your team, and your business.  

Step 2: Features Identified 

To put it simply, this stage is all about providing insight into the SD-WAN features that are worthwhile and beneficial to you. We provide these recommendations based on your requirements that were discussed in the initial ‘Requirements Capture’.  

Whether this would be Quality of Service (QoS) for prioritising traffic, or Cloud on-ramp for extending your access into the cloud. 

This would be a collaborative process in order to ensure the solution meets your current business challenges as well as being ready for future business needs. 

Step 3: Audit Current Architecture 

At this stage, our technical experts will evaluate your current architecture. This audit will provide us with insights into what your architecture is made up of and where your architecture needs to be optimised. This way we can demonstrate why certain SD-WAN features need to be included within your architecture and when they should be added in terms of your new architecture’s roadmap. 

This is a vital step. As it is essentially pulling your new architecture together; with what, where, why, and when.  

Here’s an overview of the areas we evaluate: 

  • Segmentation – Does your network need segments? How many? 
  • Network Topology – Is it full mesh, partial mesh, or hub and spoke? 
  • Resiliency – Single or dual router? Single WAN or dual WAN? 
  • Throughput 
  • Cloud intergration 

When we assess these areas of your architecture, we then integrate them into a HLD (High Level Design) to provide a more holistic view of the design process. Using the understanding of what is already in place, we begin to develop a solution that will be tailored to meet your business needs. Once this design has been documented, it will be presented to you for a review period to ensure you are happy with the proposal, after which it can be finalised, and we will progress to the next stage.  

Step 4: Proposed Design 

Once you have signed off the HLD we then progress to the LLD (Low Level Design). In the LLD all granular details are listed including things like configs, templates, policies, device serial numbers etc. - the list goes on!  

The LLD is different to the HLD, as the LLD is a living document. What we mean by this is that we will continue revising this document until we have fully completed the design and deployment of your SD-WAN architecture/project. The reason for doing this is so that when we finish your project you will have the most relevant and accurate design of your new architecture; this is necessary for you to continue managing and developing your new architecture.  

Step 5: Planning 

We’ve been a bit cheeky here and included this as one step, but it actually involves two. These being:  

  • Standardisation  

And 

  • Sign off (a pretty straightforward step that doesn’t need much clarification – hence grouping it!) 

But let’s go into what we mean by ‘standardisation’ in a little more detail. This is a process of positioning your applications and IT architecture to a baseline of standards that fit your business strategy, security policies, and goals.  

We will look at factors such as: 

  • Site IDs 
  • System IPs 
  • Use Cases/Site Types 
  • Topology 

Once we have gathered the relevant information to the above, you’ve signed off the HLD and the LLD is being written/in progress, we would then create a process guide which will show step-by-step how each stage of your new architecture has been implemented. This will involve piloting your new structure to a few of your sites and our team documenting every step of the way; this is so you have the correct documentation for future reference.  

Step 6: Integration  

The main event. The thing you have most been waiting for. The move from your old architecture to your new.  

At this stage of the process, you will have now fully signed off on the LLD and we would roll out the full documentation across all sites; this is something that we can assist you with remotely or we can attend site and get hands-on. 

But wait a minute. It’s important to mention that it is not just a case of ‘moving everything over’. It’s a process. A process that involves moving elements of your infrastructure at different times. This is to ensure that you are mitigating any potential risks that could come with moving a full infrastructure over at once.  

Your mind can run wild with issues that could arise if you move everything at once. If something goes wrong, how do you have sight of where it went wrong? How far along the process did it go wrong? At the start? The end? How would you know? 

That’s why at WhiteSpider we do this transition in increments. One step built onto another. Providing you with the reassurance and peace of mind that we have your digital transformation under control.  

WhiteSpider’s SD-WAN: Professional Services 

In a nutshell, our Professional Services are outcome-driven. Meaning, you have a problem that you want to solve, we provide a solution to your problem, and action on that solution. Essentially, our SD-WAN Professional Service is the full 6-step design process we mentioned above.  

But we don’t stop there. We take our SD-WAN Professional Services a step further. We do this by providing full documentation and subsequent training to you and your team regarding your new architecture; this is our value-add. 

Once your SD-WAN project is finished and we agree your next steps, we would then provide you with a Managed Service.  

Ultimately, we want our customers to be successful. So, rather than us doing the work and leaving them to their own devices, we provide the training and knowledge transfer of their new architecture to ensure they can continue to optimise and develop their environment in line with their current and future goals.   

If you would like to find out more about our SD-WAN offering, talk to our team, and we can get you started on your SD-WAN transformation journey.  

Schedule Whiteboarding Session 

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Why WhiteSpider?

WhiteSpider is an advanced technology services company, specialising in the provision of consultancy, strategic advice, and practical support in enterprise service architectures. As experts in software-defined architectures, we help organisations across the world to standardise their IT and communications infrastructures as they transition to digital.

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