2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure states, “Gartner clients report operational savings as high as 90% when comparing the better WAN Edge solutions with traditional router-based deployments (administration time of five minutes/month versus one hour/month).”
Enterprises have well realized the fact that static MPLS connections and legacy routers that connected branch offices to business-critical applications, data, and services were a major bottleneck to digital transformation.
Traditional routers could not bond MPLS and Broadband links. You required high-end broadband bonding routers to bond MPLS and several other broadband modems. In case the MPLS link failed, broadband lines carried the internet traffic over the public internet. However, this was one of many limitations.
Traditional routers lacked the ability to scale. Enterprises couldn’t extend networks to new sites and deploying applications and services required on-site configuration. Besides, routers lacked the ability to steer traffic dynamically. Although the traffic was moved to the best path available, routers couldn’t steer the traffic, which ultimately resulted in connection loss. Cost of the hardware (router) and its complicated setup process compelled enterprises to rethink beyond traditional routers.
Enterprises Slowing Down Router investments
Enterprises worldwide are on the verge of replacing traditional routers with SD-WAN. Although this shift has been trending worldwide for quite some time now since the disruption of SD-WAN, Indian enterprises too, are fast catching up with the wave.
“In our discussions with vendors, it has become apparent that most recognize SD-WAN as a mainstream technology,” said IHS Markit analyst Josh Bancroft. “As a result, larger enterprises have begun to refresh their legacy, router-centric WANs with SD-WAN. Vendors are capitalizing on the refresh opportunities with customers that have large bases of aging router equipment.”
According to the latest reports, the Ethernet Switch market in India stood at US$140 million (by vendor revenue) in the period, registering YoY growth of 2.1%. India Router market stood at $72.3 million (by vendor revenue) with a steep YoY decline of 24.3% in the quarter. The decline was due to stabilization after heavy spending in the past few quarters and service providers slowing down router investments during the quarter.
The Inevitable Shift to SD-WAN
The Gartner report “Forecast Analysis: Enterprise Networking Connectivity Growth Trends, Worldwide,” states “by year-end 2023, 60% of enterprises will have implemented SD-WAN, up from less than 20% in 2019, to increase network agility and enhance support for cloud applications.”
The ongoing shift to SD-WAN is prominent as more enterprises adopt a cloud-first strategy. Traditional routers were never meant to deal with cloud traffic – such as SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and list go on. Although MPLS is still in use, for cloud-first enterprises, broadband is a necessity. SD-WAN empowers enterprises today to use both new-age broadband connectivity at the same time can leverage MPLS (hybrid WAN scenario). Besides being economical, software-defined WAN makes network agile and flexible enough to scale it securely across the globe. Moreover, traditional routers require onsite engineers in case of setups and configurations. Gaining end to end visibility to monitor routers real-time is daunting which often leads to higher Mean Time To Repair (MTTR) and frequent failures.
In a Software-defined WAN ecosystem managing and monitoring any network devices (not only routers) becomes seamless. IT teams can manage and configure necessary changes proactively to reach the desired outcome without manual intervention. IT teams can simply define traffic segments and assign policies to each. For example, rules are applied as per VPN and firewall segments, and security policies are applied to each individual segment. These policies are automatically applied across edges and clouds. Via intent-based segmentation such as ScaleAOn, each segment is automatically isolated with respective policies carried across the WAN. This empowers IT teams with granular visibility to enterprise networks (not just devices like routers and firewalls).
The Era of Dynamic Routing with SD-WAN
Using a new-age networking solution like ScaleAOn SD-WAN, enterprises can prioritize business-critical traffic ensuring the best path (link) to route traffic dynamically. By simply creating Local Internet breakouts SD-WAN will allow you to route critical traffic from the branch to the data center over MPLS link to achieve resilient SLA results. In case the link fails ScaleAOn’ Auto Failover feature will switch to the next best available link delivering end-users bespoke experience coupled with speed and unlimited bandwidth. Refer a blog, we posted earlier to know in-depth about Local Internet breakout can help you simplify Office 365 routing, defined policies can route traffic to branch to the Internet, SaaS application traffic and the data center along the best path to ensure higher QoS and QoE.
ScaleAOn SD-WAN makes the cloud look like a branch. You can set up branches in no time; deploy services and applications in a jiffy, in addition, SD-WAN Zero-Touch Provision makes configurations and deployments less intricate. Other than this, SD-WAN augments the power of virtualization. Network Function Virtualization (NFV) enables devices (includes routers) to run in a virtual partition. Enterprises today with advance WAN requirements can easily leverage a host of network services using NFV – including the best option VPNs, WAN optimization and other services.
Hence although enterprises can use multiple other network devices like WAN optimizers and firewalls appliances (physical or virtual) in a branch for routing interoperability, SD-WAN serves a bigger purpose other than just supporting routing capabilities. Overall SD-WAN holds answers to some pressing WAN challenges apart from routing- problems like network availability, performance, and last-mile link connectivity and more.
So if SD-WAN can do a lot more than what a physical router, that too, at an economical price, why rely on traditional routers to steer new-age cloud traffic across the WAN or branches? Share your opinion with us.