SD-WAN is generating considerable interest among organisations at the moment because it solves a common business challenge: how to reduce the complexity and cost of extending corporate WANs to satellite offices and remote branches. It’s not the only way to tackle the problem, but it offers a simple and elegant VPN overlay solution.
By de-coupling network control functions from physical hardware, SD-WAN appliances can dynamically route traffic across hybrid networks in line with centrally managed policies, taking advantage of Internet connections where appropriate and reducing complexity for network operations teams.
The market is rapidly maturing in this space as the technology becomes more mainstream and is adopted more widely. On the demand side, from our research with customers we see just under a third of companies looking to run proof of concepts or full rollouts of SD-WAN over the next two years. From the supply perspective the market has already seen some consolidation and more should be expected. Vendor roadmaps are developing and more comprehensive functions and capabilities are being built into the products as these roadmaps are delivered.
Assuring SD-WAN security needs careful attention, particularly if you’re trying to implement the technology yourself in-house in a more complicated environment, such as running a series of virtual machines in a service chain on an x86 device.
Yet it is possible to take advantage of the technology today without unnecessary risk if you opt for a managed solution with a service provider. You can have a plug-and-play SD-WAN device shipped to a site, authenticate it very quickly, replicate the configurations from a pre-configured site profile at the click of a button, and be up and running very fast. We can also build the network the SD-WAN operates on, connect in the VPN, build the operating portal and security wrap; along with a global service and distribution back–up too.
Today, that ‘plug and play’ setup of new branch networks is probably the key driver for the technology – and there’s no doubt it’s a compelling one for many. The industry is started to ramp up already, and companies should keep a close eye on developments in this space (or regularly check in with peers or partners that do), because the business case for SD-WAN may well evolve as the market evolves.
If you’re interested in reading more about our SD-WAN services, check out our pages on Connect Intelligence IWAN.
"You can have a plug-and-play SD-WAN device shipped to a new branch, authenticate it very quickly, replicate the configurations from an existing branch at the click of a button, and be up and running very fast."