Cost of SD-WAN [Meraki & Cisco]

Once you or your IT consultant have identified that SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) makes sense in your organization’s network, you’ll need to start thinking about what solution you’ll implement. cost of sd-wan

For most businesses, cost plays a significant factor in this decision.

Since SD-WAN has so many variables from deployment, vendor, features, integrations, etc., the price ranges from $17,000 to $98,000 with a 3-year license.

While you let that range sink in for a minute, I want to remind you that reputable IT consultants will account for your budget and find an appropriate solution that meets all your needs.

At The KR Group, we try to ask early in the discovery phase of our infrastructure services what your budget is, so we can recommend an SD-WAN solution that aligns with it.

In fact, if you have a more limited budget, we likely won’t even suggest the options at the top end of the price range for SD-WAN solutions. However, if you’re a larger organization with more room in your budget or could benefit from all the bells and whistles you can get with an advanced SD-WAN solution, you could be looking at a cost at the top end of the price range.

So, what factors account for the extensive range in cost? Here are a few to think through:

  1. Vendor
  2. Licensing
  3. Deployment location

With the following information, you should better understand what you can expect to pay for SD-WAN and which option, Cisco or Meraki, will work best in your IT network.

 

SD- WAN Vendor Selection

Like any product, the manufacturer can play a role in the cost of the solution, and SD-WAN is no exception.

Many vendors offer this component of networking architecture. However, since The KR Group primarily sells and implements Meraki or Cisco solutions, we will focus on them.

Solutions from both vendors provide the primary components of SD-WAN, allowing you to connect your users to public and private cloud environments or data centers.

Meraki SD-WAN

Meraki’s devices are known for their simplicity and user-friendliness. The same is true for the company’s SD-WAN solution.

Meraki offers a relatively easy-to-administer option for small and medium businesses.

With this option, you’ll have some of the base features of SD-WAN, including load balancing and traffic optimization. (The number of features you’ll have depends on your chosen license, which you’ll learn more about later in the article.)

Meraki’s goal is to provide an entry point to SD-WAN for organizations with limited IT resources without over-complicating the solution.

Cisco SD-WAN

cost of sd-wan In general, Cisco is a bigger beast and has more resources for research and development.

Cisco’s SD-WAN solution has the same primary functions as Meraki but with more advanced features, including cloud-scale architecture that is open, programmable, and scalable.

As a result, Cisco’s SD-WAN provides increased visibility, troubleshooting accessibility, and administration.

Additionally, you can deploy Cisco SD-WAN in the cloud or your data center; you’ll learn more about how these options give Cisco solutions different capabilities than Meraki.

 

Licensing for SD-WAN

You’ll need accompanying licenses to use your SD-WAN solution from Cisco or Meraki.

Since the two vendors have different approaches to their SD-WAN solutions, there are variations in the license types and prices.

Meraki SD-WAN Licenses

Meraki’s licensing structure gives you access to the dashboard to view solution performance and configuration options. You’ll also have access to Meraki’s support team if you encounter an issue. cost of sd-wan

The entry-point is a 3-year Enterprise License that lets you have the essential functions of SD-WAN (advanced routing, automatic failover, and load balancing) as well as these features:

  • Open APIs
  • Sub-second site-to-site VPN failover
  • Sub-second dynamic path selection
  • Traffic shaping and prioritization
  • Site-to-site VPN
  • Client VPN
  • Group policies
  • Client connectivity alerts
  • Local breakout (IP based)

This option is ideal for organizations that only require an auto VPN and a firewall.

Combined, the 3-year Enterprise License and the SD-WAN solution cost you around $17,000 to deploy with redundancy across three sites.

However, if you’re looking for a Meraki SD-WAN solution with a few more feature options, you might consider the Advanced Security License. This license will meet your needs if you connect directly to the internet and need universal threat management.

In addition to all the features of an Enterprise License, Advanced Security Licenses provide the following:

  • Geography-based firewall rules
  • Intrusion detection and prevention
  • Content filtering
  • YouTube content restriction
  • Web search filtering
  • Cisco Advanced Malware Protection (AMP)
  • Umbrella DNS Integration (Licenses are sold separately)
  • Threat Grid Integration

This option will cost you more, and you can expect to pay around $23,000 for a 3-year Advanced Security License with redundancy for three locations.

Cisco SD-WAN Licenses

Alternatively, you could implement Cisco’s SD-WAN solution, which has even more capabilities and advanced visibility than Meraki’s SD-WAN Advanced Security License.

For example, you’ll have visibility beyond the underlying SD-WAN fabric and into the internet, cloud, and SaaS. You can use it to connect your data centers, branches, campuses, and colocation facilities to improve network speed, security, and efficiency.

These additional features are reflected in the price.

For example, to deploy Cisco SD-Wan across three sites, you can expect to pay around $98,000 for licensing, support, and redundancy.

Remember that Cisco doesn’t have SD-WAN feature tiers; it’s just a part of the package. Instead, as you’ll read next, you’ll choose where your SD-WAN is deployed.

 

SD-WAN Deployment Location

Another choice you may have to consider is where you deploy your SD-WAN solution.

With Meraki, the choice is simple; cloud-hosted is your only option.

However, Cisco gives you a few options:

  1. Cloud deployment can minimize how much you’ll spend on SD-WAN, but you’re heavily reliant on
  2. On-premises gives you more control over troubleshooting and containing issues with your in-house knowledge.
  3. Virtual will give you the same functionality as the other option, but you’ll want to consider the vCPU and vRAM requirements, which often make virtual deployments cost prohibitive.

The tools look and run similarly across all three choices, but you’ll pay a premium for the physical appliance and possible a virtual deployment.

 

Buying SD-WAN

When The KR Group discusses the cost of Meraki or Cisco SD-WAN solutions, one of the common follow-up questions we receive is how to reduce this price.

cost of sd-wan One option is to work with a Cisco or Meraki partner, which may provide more competitive pricing.

Additionally, the prices you read throughout this article assume you’ll incorporate redundancy at each site. However, that doubles the cost of hardware.

In most cases, Meraki is the most budget-friendly option. Plus, the implementation time (and fees) are roughly a quarter of what it takes to implement Cisco SD-WAN.

Since Cisco is costlier – and sometimes an unviable option for small businesses — we generally don’t recommend it for companies with fewer than 10 sites. Still, at that point, the advanced visibility and management features you’re paying for become essential to tracking the larger IT environment.

Paying $17,000 to $98,000 for SD-WAN might come with a small dose of sticker shock, but in return, you have a more secure and reliable way for your users to connect to the internet.

To learn more about how SD-WAN can transform your business, download this free infographic.

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