SD-WAN Doesn’t Work for SaaS Providers

For SaaS applications that must connect to customer or partner data, SD-WAN doesn’t work.

SD-WAN doesn't work

SD-WAN adoption is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years, with most companies implementing some form of SD-WAN within the next 5 years.

For enterprises, SD-WAN is commonly seen as the modern way to build WAN connectivity to clouds, branch offices, and data centers. While still requiring teams of highly experienced network engineers (or managed service providers) to build and maintain these tailored networks, they provide a number of security and routing improvements that make them attractive to VPN and MPLS users.

However, not all WANs involve a single organization connecting internal IT resources.

SaaS application providers must build connectivity from a single application to many customer or partner controlled data sources.

These WANs must be handled differently than a typical enterprise network. For SaaS application providers, typical SD-WANs may initially seem like the right answer, but upon further inspection still do not meet their needs.

The challenges with typical SD-WAN include:

  • Unused features – An application provider doesn’t care about the priority of traffic for a voice app vs an email download. These features of a typical SD-WAN are irrelevant as they connect a single application to hundreds or thousands of customers.
  • Connecting 2 parties instead of 1 – A typical SD-WAN solution assumes that a user has control over network and firewall settings on both ends of the network. Application providers connecting to a customer environment must be able to control and configure everything from only one side of the network.
  • Managing 100s or 1000s of networks – Most SD-WAN solutions build new networks one-by-one. This means that they must also be maintained individually. But when one application is connecting to lots of customers, maintenance such as patches and updates to the network shouldn’t have to be manually repeated over and over again. Instead, application providers need a single pane of glass that treat the entire network like a single multi-tenant solution.

And these are just the beginning of a longer list of mismatches that can seem small at first but create expensive and time-consuming problems at scale.

Ideally, the networking needed for the application should be a PART of the solution a customer is buying – not a prerequisite. SaaS providers need to offer customers a complete, cloud-delivered package from initial install to support.

Trustgrid fills this gap in the SaaS ecosystem with application-centric connectivity that provides zero-trust networking between a SaaS application and an unlimited number of unique customer environments.

The Trustgrid platform allows SaaS developers to add multi-tenant networking functionality to their application, without having to change their application. Rather than having to build a homegrown solution, rely on an in-house networking team, or ask their customers to come to the table with their own networking expertise, Trustgrid’s network-as-a-service provides WAN capabilities specifically designed for SaaS applications.

With Trustgrid’s SD-WAN 2.0, application providers can:

  • Improve SaaS customer satisfaction
  • Decrease operating expenses and improve margins
  • Accelerate SaaS deployments to new customers

Trustgrid deployments don’t require teams of networking engineers building custom configurations for each unique customer environment. Instead, they are handled with pre-configured, plug-and-play devices which drop into any environment and securely connect the application to a customer’s data.

Network patches, updates, and support are all handled just like any other cloud service and pushed to customer connections seamlessly without the need for on-site expertise.

Additionally, when application components would more effectively run on-premise (instead of in the cloud), Trustgrid can extend the application into a customer’s environment by running Docker containers directly on the network appliance. This allows applications to not only connect to the edge, but actually run at the edge.

Where a typical SD-WAN is designed for enterprise branch or cloud connectivity, Trustgrid is purposely designed for application to customer connectivity. Comparing the Trustgrid platform to a typical SD-WAN is like comparing a 4×4 pickup truck to a sports car. They are both vehicles that get you from point A to point B, but they excel at different things and are designed for different users. Picking the wrong one could result in frustration, countless hours of lost time or worse.

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