How Operations makes a difference to Managed SD-WAN

Monitoring and operating a global SD-WAN requires the right skills and significant resources. That's why many MNCs partner with managed SD-WAN providers. After appropriate design and efficient rollout, it’s mostly in 24x7 monitoring and Operations where managed SD-WAN providers need to score high to satisfy the steep demands of their customers. Automation and standardization can boost Operations significantly. But it’s not only technology that matters. The culture of the Operations organization can add remarkable value on top.

Podcast: Open Systems provides MSPs SD-WAN and security technology – the core components for enterprise decision to move to the cloud

Photograph by S. Wettstein 


Announcer: This podcast was recorded using Uber conference by Dialpad.


Don Witt: Hello this is Don Witt with The Channel Daily News from Telecom Reseller. Today we're speaking with Laurent Zimmerli. He is the Vice President of Product Marketing at Open Systems. How are you doing today, Laurent?

→ Laurent Zimmerli: Excellent. Thanks, Don, and thanks for having me on your podcast.

Don Witt: Oh, you're welcome. It's going to be a good podcast and good technology. But before we get started on that, can you give our listeners a little overview of Open Systems?

→ Laurent Zimmerli: Sure. So, Open Systems is a leading global provider of managed SD-WAN solution.

We offer an SD-WAN solution with built-in security and analytics so that with this solution we enable our customers to create new business models.

Because with our unique digital operations platform, our customers can pursue a digital-first strategy – all the nice things around digital transformation – leverage new technologies like IoT, AI, and grow and scale their business and completely focus on that.

Don Witt: There is a lot of movement with companies choosing the internet, and to the cloud. And what would be some of the reasons for choosing a managed service provider to operate their SD-WAN in the cloud?

→ Laurent Zimmerli: Basically, if you’re talking about digital transformation, digital business, SD-WAN is really core to that evolution of business, because there is no success for any digital initiative without the right infrastructure and underlying. Because no matter how digital it is, there is still an infrastructure which actually has to carry those initiatives. And SD-WAN also does great technology and it gave us visibility and flexibility, and it helps us to build networks that actually do enable this digital business.

But it's still a network, right? And as you said, the internet is involved. It’s heavily dependent on the internet very often. So, we still need to monitor and operate it 24x7 to actually make sure that this digital business is not only enabled, but that it can rely on the SD-WAN. So managed service providers can give enterprises help in doing so. Especially if we're talking about 24x7 operations, organizations might not have the resources, maybe they do not have the skills. Or maybe they have some resources and skills, but still expect you as a service provider to do a better job, right? As a managed service provider, we can give those resources and this know-how from day one. And we can also offer the 24x7 coverage and take these operational burdens off the customer and make sure that they can actually focus on their business initiatives. 

Don Witt: In answering this question, I'd like you to try and include one of the most important things in a company's decision – and moving to the cloud is security. So, I'd like you to keep that in mind when you're answering this question. And what roles do standardization, automation and organization play with the SD-WAN?

→ Laurent Zimmerli: Let me talk about managed providers. It’s mainly the operations part right, that they can actually offer to the customer. So, as I said before, it’s the operations that we can handle for the customer. We can bring in the benefit. And so, our goal as the provider, is to deliver best possible operations. And so, if you're mentioning standardization, I think standardization is basically step one for a provider to actually be able to improve operations and in the network, also in security. So, standardization for a service provider means that we have to make sure we have standard products, standard deployments, and standard solutions deployed to all of our customers, which actually makes it possible that every customer benefits from every other customer, because if we improve something for one customer, all the other customers benefit from that too. It gives us a very high potential for efficiency here. A very simple example here is, if we think back a few years there was the Heartbleed exploit that you maybe remember. Everybody was hit by that, and everybody had to solve that issue, and most of the big organizations had the issue that they had so many different products, that for each of them they needed a patch to actually fix that. So, if you have a standard infrastructure deployed by a managed service provider, it's very easy for them to actually fix the problem overnight and give you basically the peace of mind and the certainty that Heartbleed or other incidents like this are being taken care of.

And the standard infrastructure gives you that possibility. And it's also not only that. You can basically build a complete platform around the standard infrastructure and it's a huge enabler for you to build in functionality but also to enable automation, what you mentioned in your question as well. And automation, again, when it comes back to operations, is the key for efficiency. And, and it builds on the standardization, because standardization gives you the possibility to do automation in terms of change management. For example, you can easily automate change management. And so, for example, when we talk about SD-WAN deploying a new site or replacing a faulty device, or any kind of global change becomes, on the one hand, much easier. But on the other hand, and talking about security again, much less error prone, because you can rely on tools and you can be sure that they actually roll out completely and roll out thoroughly whatever change or patch you need to do. But it's not only about rolling out patches or change management, it's of course also incident handling – again talking about security, talking about operations. Incident handling is a major part of that. And if you can leverage automation to also support incident handling, again you will make operations more efficient and more reliable for the customers.

So, I talked about standardization and this platform that you can build around that. And if you have that platform, you can also easily build in monitoring – deploy agents which actually monitor all those aspects of that platform technology. Hardware, software and cloud environments which are involved – everything that can be monitored – and again, it's all standard. So, it means that if you improve an agent for one customer, every other customer will also get that benefit for better monitoring. And, if you're very lucky, you can turn those agents also into active components, so you cannot only have them only passively monitoring your environments but you can also let them help you actively. For example, apply default fixes to repetitive incidents. Or because in operations there are also some incidents which occur frequently. And if you have those, why don't you leverage your agents or your robots, basically what you've turned them into, to help your incident handling? So if you can turn them into active components and use this auto-healing as we can call it, again, you improve your operations and you can bring that benefit directly to your customers. So that was automation and standardization.

You also mentioned organization. And in the end, if you really manage to have such standard and highly automated infrastructures or setups, you can, as I said, improve organization and therefore also improve the organization around operations, because your operational noise is removed from your operations organization. So you really reduce it to the important and to the interesting tasks. Another, and the last aspect of the organization is if you think about improving the system, improving the service, it's always helpful if you can bring your operations teams close to your development teams. Because you want to have that close feedback loop which brings feedback from the operations to the development teams to improve the service to be very agile way.

Don Witt: Most companies, larger companies, are heterogeneous networks from acquisitions, remote offices, etc. How easy is it for them to go through the process – through the transition – into the SD-WAN from the users’ point of view?

→ Laurent Zimmerli: It's actually quite easy, because SD-WAN offers you the possibility to use a hybrid WAN. You do not have to rely on either a closed MPLS, or just one global provider which can give you access to the internet. You can actually leverage and your best mix of transport layer using existing lines, and using existing transport layer technology. So, you can have an easy transfer basically from your existing environment over to the SD-WAN, because it gives you that agility and flexibility.

Don Witt: Where can our listeners find out a little bit more?

→ Laurent Zimmerli: Certainly on our website, which is, and you can also find me on LinkedIn and ping me directly.

Don Witt: This is Don Witt with The Channel Daily News from Telecom Reseller speaking with Laurent Zimmerli. He is the Vice President of Product Marketing at Open Systems, and Laurent it sounds as though you've got an incredibly nice solution for those that are undoubtedly going to be moving to the cloud and utilizing this technology for their expansion of the network and contraction, and relocation to different parts of the country based on whatever the needs of their environment is.

→ Laurent Zimmerli: Thank you very much.

Don Witt: Thank you.



For more information, see Managed Secure SD-WAN by Open Systems

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This post was written by Open Systems, the leading provider of secure SD-WAN solutions