We know about wide area networks (WAN) that connect users to applications and move data over long distances by establishing connectivity among enterprise branches spanning across geographical locations.
Imagine a manual process of launching a new analytics application and configuring the WAN infrastructure for the application to be accessible to all users of enterprises. Admins would need to applying software updates to physical resources as well as business applications. They’d also have the tedious task of configuring all routers and network devices and testing the application. There also would be the need to apply new network policies and orchestrate all nodes to support all business applications.
As SD-WAN comes into the picture, enterprises and service providers experience a significant reduction in the chores associated with getting new branches up and running and in updating or introducing new applications. Control planes are grouped into a centralized platform. Any changes made to the central interface can affect all connected communications services, applications, and end branches. Moving forward with SD-WAN, enterprises and services providers will be leveraging cloud-like services to deliver centralized control mechanism that will seamlessly manage all the existing WAN branches. SD-WAN basically increases agility by simplifying network policy configuration and management, provides higher performance by intelligently leveraging multiple paths, including broadband connections, and lowers IT operational costs by eliminating costly MPLS connection.
Additionally, SD-WAN helps prioritize data traffic for business apps for higher utilization for business processes and improves security by enforcing network firewall policies across all branches as well as a specific path.
Transitioning to SD-WAN
The adoption of SD-WAN was slow until 2018. There were several reasons like CXOs or leaders of tech companies still having doubt about the possible benefits offered by technology and lack of knowledge. However, as the use of cloud services become de facto for most organizations, cloud-powered SD-WAN is now viewed as a better option, which can considerably transform operations with less cost and efforts. Enterprise will go for SD-WAN to reduce the complexity in configuring branch-office devices, routing schemes, and network addresses. Much of these functions can be abstracted into the cloud and managed by the service provider or an enterprise manager using a cloud interface.
SD-WAN benefits for new use cases
SD-WAN will be crucial for IoT implementations. As both verticals are getting mature, SD-WAN can help deliver reduced latency with a 5G network along with improved end-to-end data encryption and security mechanism for critical IoT use cases.
SD-WAN can also be useful for 5G network slicing feature wherein the same network is divided into virtual networks for different types of use cases and devices.
The SD-WAN platform is set for further innovation by integration with security products and services. Network equipment for security analysis will be replaced with Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) that can be easy to introduce into an SD-WAN network. In addition, SD-WAN platforms will be more enhanced with analytics for better monitoring capabilities of traffic.
Future trends and forecasts
To understand the industry perspective, market forecast, and trends, Futuriom surveyed 300+ end users and interacted with enterprise and service provider buyers in the first half of 2019. Futuriom released the report with the forecast that expecting SD-WAN platform market to reach $2.2 billion by 2020, $2.75B in 2021, and $2.5B by 2022.
The report concluded that the acceleration of the SD-WAN market is tied to enterprises seeking better access to cloud applications; there is technology on the way for SD-WAN to emerge as an edge networking platform. The report also found that other top drivers for SD-WAN are security and support for cloud-based services.