2018 has been the year of SD-WAN. While Enterprises replaced their static MPLS networks and shifting base to Software Defined WANs, Networking companies have been offering virtualized WAN and end-to-end cloud-based provisioning. This will continue to happen in 2019. Although MPLS will not cease to exist completely, an increase in the number of Hybrid WANs (integration of the existing MPLS network with optimized WANs) will be observed, in the year ahead. The increasing demand for bandwidth, cloud services -IaaS and SaaS applications- along growing complexities in WAN and security will remain the same in 2019. Enterprise IT teams will need to address Networks rather than only WAN, to improve to NetOps, DevOps and SecOps.
Below are few thoughts on how SD-WAN will shape up the year ahead.
Internet will truly be ubiquitous
The pace of SD-WAN adoption will continue throughout 2019 as Internet adoption continues. While we struggle to get adequate bandwidth, connectivity, and safety on the Internet, we believe that in 2019 – in the future- Internet will be available like electricity. No matter how far or remote the area is, we will soon see Internet available in remote areas of India. SD-WAN will bring the Internet to everyone and help GOI successfully deliver through Digital India initiatives.
SDN will continue to flatten networks
Today, legacy networks are being taken down, built with low-cost commodity hardware, and controlled by software in the cloud. Enterprises are tired of the complexity in networking and are moving to SDN across the spectrum. In 2019, SDN will continue to make networks flatter, faster, simpler, safer, and really cheap to build and operate. Enterprise adoption of SD-WAN technologies will continue which will IT network infrastructure more cost-effective, scalable and resilient throughout 2019.
Managed Services will rise
Throughout 2018, we’ve seen enterprises adopting managed services as well as DIY approach. Both DIY and Managed services offered their own set of advantages. SD-WAN solutions being flexible for both DIY and Managed model, vendors providing both the options – DIY as well as managed services – worked in favor of enterprises.
Enterprises have always had the option to switch from DIY to Managed services and vice versa. Managed Services were in demand because it lessened the burden of IT network teams. In addition, not every enterprise has had the luxury of a team with in-house expertise to implement or transform to SD-WAN. Given that, in 2019 SD-WAN as managed services will surely be an effective and first choice for most enterprises.
Network will be judged on User/Customer Experience
Customers are one of the primary reasons why enterprises globally feel the need to transform to Digital. Enterprises can no longer ignore shifting to new age WAN. In one of our recent customer meetings, a renowned IT head exclaimed that “we are calling ourselves the User Experience Group, not the IT team. When prodded further he said, IT infrastructure like networking is just expected to work these days. You don’t get brownie points for making IT work. We are now challenged to improve the user experience over that IT infrastructure. How fast are the applications loading? How safe is the network? It’s all about experience’ Yes, that’s a big change. The network in 2019 will be judged, on how enterprises are delivering customer/user experience.
NFV adoption is sure to Rise.
2019 will witness a boom in the adoption of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). It will become a common practice post implementing SD-WAN. This will make WAN super flexible. In addition, utilizing both will become the key factor for enterprises to seek success in the 2nd Phase of Digital Transformation. Currently, SDN and NFV top the minds of CIOs and leaders across industries. Now it would be an exciting chapter to behold how enterprises make the best use of SDN and NFV in 2019.
Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) will gain Momentum.
More Enterprises today feel the need to modernise IT applications by moving to the cloud and take more and more of business online. Hence, in 2019 SD-WAN + SDP architecture will gain momentum. It will allow enterprises to access, best of breed networking and security, and will ensure enterprises are ready for the new digital world of business. SDP is designed to address the security concerns of the enterprises wanting to strike balance between innovation and compliance. Moreover, like the folks at Google figured, if SDP allows you to trust your cloud, then everything else will fall into place anyway. In 2018, we witnessed successful use cases of the SD-WAN and SDP architecture in the banking industry. In 2019, the rising security concerns will definitely make this duo rise across industries.
Cyber security will stay top of the mind of CTOs and CIOs
Cyber security will remain a key concern for enterprises globally in 2019. As enterprises will continue to surge towards new age technology- cloud, AL, ML, IoT – the threat of cyber attacks will increase. As technology will continue to evolve further, new types of attacks and malware will increase. The challenge for networking teams in 2019 will be to train and groom new skills to eliminate any threat that originates.
Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI)
SD-WAN have already shown a way to enterprise IT teams to create and build WAN of the future. It has not only simplified enterprise networking but has also opened doors to create and adopt Next-Gen IT infrastructure. By unifying SD-WAN architecture and rollouts with the adoption of hyperconverged platforms (HCI) and the public cloud, enterprises will own and manage their own WAN infrastructure. Given the flexibility it provided to data centres i.e. to migrate to HCI or hybrid-converged – or even back to a traditional model – as needed, in 2019 HCI will evolve further.
By the end of 2019, around this time, the SD-WAN market will look very different. In 2018 it was really interesting to observe the number of companies stepping into this space – incumbents, startups, alternative suppliers. While SD-WAN as a feature set is well known, and more than 20 companies built solutions in this space, the real market shift is that SD-WAN will disrupt the networking market like the cloud disrupted the IT compute and storage market.
In 2019 and further, nimble software innovators, rather than custom hardware solutions that will dominate Networking. What will separate the winners from the also-ran(s) is the vision for cloud managed networking that will sweep up enterprises. SDN architectures are here to stay, and SDN controllers will be delivered from the cloud – private or public, and that is a big transition that SD-WAN is the first step to. In 2019, once your Enterprise WAN is ready to run using SDN, then other elements like wireless and security also will move to a similar paradigm.
Let us know your thoughts as well on how you think SD-WAN will shape up 2019?