The year 2020 promises to be a year of new and exciting developments in Software Development – Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology. Over the last few years, SD-WAN has disrupted the enterprise networking segment and has emerged as one of the fastest-growing parts of the network infrastructure market.
IDC says that the global SD-WAN infrastructure market (excluding managed services) will grow at a 31% compound annual growth rate to touch $5.3 billion by 2023. Further, Frost & Sullivan believes that more than $20 billion will be spent globally on SD-WAN managed services between 2017 and 2023.
It is easy to see why SD-WAN has taken the enterprise networking market by storm. It enables a real-time application performance improvement, helps in simplifying the networks, promotes automation for the management of wide-area networks and optimized cloud access.
However, SD-WAN’s development will be advanced by its growing role in several other technologies, including 5G, edge networking, and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), among others. Here’s how the profile of SD-WAN will continue to grow because of its role in other technologies:
SD-WAN and IoT:
The relevance of IoT continues to grow for enterprises of all sizes. According to Gartner, there will be around 1.7 billion new IoT devices per year, attaching to the enterprise network in 2023. The SD-WAN technology directly enables IoT use cases by prioritizing business-critical applications, allowing cost savings with zero-touch deployments and usage of internet links.
IoT devices demand a reliable platform for best results, and SD-WAN is best placed for that. The SD-WAN brings down downtime and ensures stable and consistent application performance by opting for the best possible path regardless of the underlying transport. This feature enables that the next link automatically takes over in case one link breaks helps in reducing downtime.
Further, SD-WAN’s segmentation capabilities help in the separation of private data from IoT traffic. This way, the technology offers better protection than the traditional networking approaches. Segmentation ensures that the private data remains away from the IoT traffic. Besides, SD-WAN helps in the identification and prioritization of network traffic by application. IT teams can use policies that enable optimal broadband internet usage.
SD-WAN and 5G:
The fifth generation of wireless network technology, 5G, offers speeds of up to 10Gbps and latency of less than one millisecond. This combination of ultra-high-speed and extremely low latency promises to usher in several new and innovative use cases which will fundamentally transform the way we work and live.
Going forward, the 5G technology will become the de-facto wireless WAN option, and this transition will be a major driver of SD-WAN adoption. Though the availability of 5G is still some time away, the enterprises should be planning for it today because SD-WAN helps pave the way for a 5G and, at the same time supporting them in resolving the present-day network challenges to deliver a superior user experience.
The flexible routing feature of SD-WAN enables the organizations to intelligently route data in real-time, which not only helps them to improve performance but to also make the best use of their networking infrastructure. This will allow the businesses to flexibly use 4G or 5G depending on the use case and the organization’s strategy around cost and quality of service.
The 5G technology will allow advanced SD-WAN platforms to have a configurable underlay. What this means is that the platform is programmable so the businesses can ask for the specifications they need concerning bandwidth and traffic handling. The ability to run an overlay with the intelligence of SD-WAN counting on the underlay intelligence of 5G is revolutionary. This approach is focused on using 5G as a transport mechanism for enterprise data.
SD-WAN and Edge Networking:
SD-WAN SD-WAN is emerging as a preferred technology for the evolution of the network edge. The business organizations will be consuming cloud-based services at the edge in 2020, and SD-WAN makes it easier to do so.
According to Gartner, more than 50% (up from just 10% in 2019) of enterprise-wide data will be created and processed outside of the data center or cloud. A significant part of this data will reside on the edge of the network.
The growing use of the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile applications has increased the requirement of edge services. IoT is likely to contribute around 50-75% of enterprise data generated at the network edge by the year 2020, according to Forbes. In the same vein, about 83% of enterprise workload will be in the cloud by 2020, says Forbes.
SD-WAN is crucial in delivering these services to ensure high-quality application performance and seamless operational technology. This demands an advanced SD-WAN platform that is capable of efficiently delivering compute services at the edge.
SD-WAN helps in transforming the networks by simplifying the edge networking. It also ensures optimal application performance and enables the organizations to benefit from the cloud and address the bandwidth demand.
Advanced SD-WAN solutions leverage Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) to make it easier to deliver additional services from the edge platform. For instance, it is possible to use analytics from the edge SD-WAN platform and compare it with analytics from other segments to gain insights, which can be used to enhance overall network performance.
While an increase in the use of the network edge to ensure delivery is hardly in doubt, there will be an increased focus on the security aspect. It is essential for the SD-WAN technology to deliver the best-in-class security to each and every cloud and device used by the enterprise.
SD-WAN is crucial for enterprises adopting cloud services and brings together regional offices/branches, data centers, and cloud. SD-WAN will continue to disrupt the enterprise networking segment for some more time. This is mainly because it will play a crucial role in the number of upcoming technologies, including IoT, edge computing, 5G, and virtualization. It will be an integral part of the digital transformation journey of the enterprises.