Software defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) have been generally known for a value proposition that revolves around cost savings on bandwidth.
When businesses look to cut the high costs of running a wide area network, SD-WANs can help to save on money by replacing high cost MPLS networks with lower cost broadband internet connections.
However, Anton Jacobsz, Managing Director of Networks Unlimited, the distributor for total SD-WAN solution provider Silver Peak for the Sub-Saharan market, says there is more to SD-WAN than just cost savings.
“This technology also offers speed, agility and ease of control,” he said.
“We believe that SD-WANs will continue to come into their own during 2018, showcasing their real value proposition in a multi-factored manner. “
Jacobsz added that an SD-WAN also brings agility to the network, for example by enabling network managers to shift to active-active architectures, make network changes centrally in alignment with application requirements and facilitating network segmentation.
“According to Gartner’s Research Vice President, Andrew Lerner, ‘SD-WAN is going mainstream’ and Lerner notes that its tangible benefits, which are driving rapid adoption, also include cost, performance and availability.”
Lerner writes that ‘SD-WAN remains a topic of high interest among Gartner clients. In just three short years, adoption has taken off. We recommend you look at SD-WAN when refreshing WAN edge equipment, renegotiating a carrier contract, building out new branches, or aggressively moving apps to the cloud.’
Jacobsz further refers to a recent blog written by Silver Peak founder and CEO, David Hughes, who also notes that the value of SD-WAN lies in more than just cost savings. Hughes notes the following predictions for the SD-WAN arena in 2018.
Enterprises will adopt cloud-first WAN architectures
Today, most WAN traffic, to and from branch and remote sites, is destined for the cloud. However, the traditional WAN was architected for branch-to-data-centre traffic flows, not to efficiently support new cloud-driven traffic patterns.
Hughes believes that in 2018, most enterprises will start to adopt a ‘cloud-first’ SD-WAN architecture designed to efficiently and effectively support the ongoing evolution in their application mix.
The new WAN edge will replace the traditional branch router
With SD-WAN as a foundation, a new class of centrally-orchestrated, application-driven WAN edge devices will replace traditional routers in the branch.
The new WAN edge will enable improved security architectures
“For years, enterprises have been hamstrung, forced to choose between backhauling all branch office traffic to one of several next gen firewall-equipped hubs or deploying a firewall at every branch site,” said Hughes.
“In 2018, the new WAN edge empowers enterprises to make this decision on an application-by-application basis. Network managers can elect to breakout trusted traffic locally at the branch, divert to a cloud-based firewall service or backhaul to a full security stack at a central location. Enterprise-grade SD-WAN solutions also enable enterprises to micro-segment traffic across the WAN, thereby containing the impact of any breach.”
Cloud-based management becomes the default
Hughes notes that the number of devices under cloud management is growing steadily, expanding beyond Wi-Fi to switching and now to the new WAN edge.
“Cloud-based management and orchestration simplify initial deployment, provide better ongoing availability and most importantly are backed with web-scale storage and compute resources that enable analytics and machine learning-based techniques that would be difficult to support in most private enterprise environments,” said Hughes.
One Virtual Network Function (VNF) is better than four
Ultimately, one advanced SD-WAN-based VNF will provide all the networking services required in a typical branch site deployment. The value of universal CPE will centre on the ability for enterprises to select their preferred technology stack without switching out hardware.
The first SD-WAN-driven listing on the stock market
Hughes believes that as SD-WAN hits mainstream, the largest independent SD-WAN vendors will likely to be able to pursue an initial public offering (IPO) and list on the stock market.
“We can see from the above statements that SD-WAN is gaining traction in the market,” he said.
Jacobsz added that the idea of 2018 showcasing the fist listing on a public stock exchange of an SD-WAN would be a symbolic development that would show how far this arena has evolved.
“Enterprises are well advised to carefully consider SD-WAN as an optimal solution for their organisation’s ongoing networking development,” he said.
SD-WAN technology differentiators include dynamic path control, zero-touch provisioning, cloud intelligence and path conditioning, which ensures private-line performance over the Internet.