Most technology innovations face some amount of trepidation in its initial phase, and it takes some time before is adopted by the mainstream. However, SD-WAN as a concept has defied this norm. Over the last few years, both adopters and analysts have validated the significant and tangible benefits that SD-WAN offers, in terms of cost savings, performance and availability enhancements and simplified administration / management. In only a few years, we are seeing significant enterprises, across industries and sizes towards SD-WAN.
What is driving enterprises move rather quickly towards SD-WAN? Here are a few probable reasons for this trend.
Traditional WAN Concerns
For a while, traditional WANs have been struggling to deliver the required levels of performance and availability. Traditional MPLS based architectures, based on dated security and governance protocols, are today seen as inefficient, and creating unnecessary latency. Traditional WANs, being fairly static and inflexible in nature, are also seen as more susceptible to sophisticated cyberattacks.
Migrating to a dynamically configurable, adaptive and cost effective alternative like SD-WAN is not likely to be a difficult decision for most CIOs.
Growing Use of Multimedia
Over the last 4-5 years, the use of audio-visual media has become a viable way to share enterprise information. Various departmental functions such as marketing, HR, training, CRM, sales, etc. actively use multimedia to engage internal stakeholders as well as customers. Organizational capabilities such as analytics has have become richer and much more interactive in nature. Mobile and consumer devices allow greater interactions and a variety of data types to be exchanged. Traditional WAN often do not have the bandwidth to efficiently handle the large volumes of multimedia and other transactional data required in typical enterprise settings.
IT is Becoming Hybrid
With hybrid IT gaining ground, systems and platforms outside the firewall are finding widespread application within the enterprise. By using a combination or public cloud and private cloud infrastructure, enterprise networking, provisioning and routing needs are changing dramatically. For typical networks work effectively in this hybrid environment, IT would generally need to over provision network resources. This is where an SD-WAN provides the flexibility to manage your cloud resources in an optimized fashion.
Business Needs are Becoming Unpredictable
Consumer expectations have changed dramatically over the past few years. A good example of this is the quick, aggressive adoption of net banking, app-based ecommerce and digital payments, driving enterprises to quickly ramp network load management. As markets and consumers continue to grow and evolve, organizations need to ensure that their networks are resilient enough to handle various aspects such as performance, availability, latency and security. SD-WAN is a more cost effective way to develop these capabilities, as compared to traditional wide area networks.
Evolution of SD-WAN Technology
Finally, the vendor market for SD-WAN has also undergone major transformation. SD-WAN platforms and services have matured significantly in the last few years, allowing companies to seamlessly leverage a combination of broadband, MPLS and other network resources. A significant percentage of SD-WAN implementations are likely to use MPLS and broadband in conjunction.
The SD-WAN market has a number of technology infrastructure leaders such as Cisco and Verizon offer a combination of products and managed services. Specialized vendors like Aryaka Networks, CloudGenix, SilverPeak and Riverbed offer cloud or appliance based SD-WAN capabilities. Leading communications service providers like Netmagic are offering comprehensive SD-WAN services that seamlessly converge with other cloud offerings like Storage-a-Service, DRaaS and virtual private cloud services.