Modernizing network gear, scaling more bandwidth and extending the cloud to enterprise applications all provide good opportunities for transforming the WAN’s complex design and overall role at the edge in remote sites and branch office locations.
Even though SD-WAN migration is in the early stages, it is rising rapidly: Gartner now estimates that there are more than 6,000 paying SD-WAN customers with over 4,000 production implementations. For the organizations that have not yet made the leap, a few key trends in late 2016 and early 2017 show how SD-WAN is evolving to become more cost-effective, versatile and scalable. Here are four trends to keep in mind:
1. The Improvement of Cloud On-Ramps
Growing use of cloud computing services has been a critical driver of SD-WAN adoption. The 2017 State of the Cloud Report from RightScale indicated that 58 percent of enterprises had a hybrid cloud strategy and that users relied on an average of four clouds.
Options for connecting to an environment in these different clouds include private circuits such as Azure ExpressRoute and AWS Direct Connect, as well as public Internet offload for branch offices. Enterprise architects may increasingly focus on improving their on-ramp strategies into the cloud through partnerships and tech upgrades.
2. The Expansion of Internet WANs
When aggregated by SD-WANs, broadband links provide more cost-effective connectivity than MPLS. They can also be fine-tuned for a variety of security and Quality of Service requirements by an SD-WAN.
Light Reading has estimated traditional WAN utilization at only 30 to 40 percent, so there is a compelling case for combining commodity-Internet alternatives with MPLS, assuming your SD-WAN features platinum QoS reliability standards.
“Broadband links provides more cost-effective connectivity than MPLS.”
3. The Rise of LTE as an SD-WAN Transport Option
4G LTE is nearly a decade old, but it has become an increasingly viable enterprise-class transport option in today’s SD-WANs. It is at the very least an alternative to the costly physical links that have been standard in delivering network access to remote offices since the days of ISDN.
Plus, 4G LTE’s ample bandwidth, packet-switched design and low-cost data plans make it a sensible choice for cellular backup within an SD-WAN. Its networks can also be accessed in much less time than it takes to lay a T1 MPLS link.
4 The Merging of SD-WANs with WAN Optimization Appliances
The WAN optimization appliance is still a common solution for functions such as compression, forward error correction and traffic shaping across a WAN. But it has been gradually vanishing as its functionality gets folded into SD-WAN platforms.
A recent IDC report highlighted how SD-WAN was subsuming standalone WAN Op and routing. The consolidation of network functions into the SD-WAN is one reason IDC expects the SD-WAN market to surge to $6 billion in revenue by 2020.
As you consider the next steps for your WAN, be sure to try a Talari Networks demo to explore your options. Contact us directly for more information.