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2017 Predictions for SD-WAN (#sdwan)

- January 3, 2017 - 25 Comments

For me, 2016 can be described as “SD-WAN euphoria.” Everyone was talking about SD-WAN. But when listening to analysts, attending tradeshows or presenting to customers, one of the most common questions I asked, or was asked, is “What exactly is SD-WAN?” To highlight just how much opinions differ, IDC and Gartner each predict the size of the SD-WAN market to be $6B and $1.24B respectively by 2020 – That is quite a difference!

Regardless of the size of the SD-WAN market, it was clear that SD-WAN adoption is increasing and will continue to do so in 2017. Why? The branch and WAN are being impacted by three key trends:

  • Devices: More mobile devices consuming rich data and video
  • SaaS: Increased consumption of applications hosted in the cloud
  • Big Data: More IoT devices generating large amounts of information

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Jeff Reed, SVP of Cisco’s Enterprise Infrastructure and Solutions Group, recently blogged about Networking Trends for 2017 and the first two relate directly to SD-WAN: WAN Redesign and NFV Comes to the Enterprise. I want to elaborate on this, so here’s what I think is in store for SD-WAN in 2017:

  1. Flexible hosting options: Cloud applications are changing how branches are designed. Branches are becoming like smaller campus networks connecting to public clouds, co-location facilities and the data center. SD-WAN will need to be flexible enough to be hosted in each of these locations in both hardware and software (virtualized) form factors without compromising on performance or management simplicity.
  2. Improved security capabilities: SD-WAN has primarily been about securing connectivity between locations using a secure overlay. However, connecting branches directly to the Internet is critical for improving the performance of applications hosted in the cloud, but it can also expose your branch threats. Expect to see security become more integrated into branch platforms and complemented by cloud-based security and analytics for faster threat detection for web, SaaS and even encrypted traffic.
  3. Virtualizing the branch: SD-WAN, Next Generation Firewall and WAN Optimization might still be required in the branch but enterprises want more flexibility to deploy and consume network functions as needed rather than all at once in a single platform. Expect to see more virtualization of traditional, physical network functions in the branch combined with broader automation capabilities that will reduce deployment time and increase agility.
  4. Increased managed service offerings: The opportunity to provide enterprises with additional services like security, monitoring and application optimization, beyond basic connectivity is a compelling value proposition of SD-WAN for providers. Expect to see more service providers offer SD-WAN as a managed service as well as resellers, systems integrators and IT services companies who are looking to expand their service offerings by giving enterprises more choice.
  5. End-to-end interoperability: Digital transformation will require network infrastructure to seamlessly connect any user to any application with the best user experience. This will require SD-WAN to work across the branch, campus, data center and cloud with open and programmable architectures for vendor interoperability. Expect to see greater interoperability across the enterprise with centralized management and monitoring that will ensure greater agility, uniform security and an overall better quality of experience for all users.

This is my view of the SD-WAN market for 2017. I’d like to hear yours. Comment below or reach out to me on twitter @ghodgaonkar.

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25 Comments

  1. Hello seniors ! Please guide me ! I have been listening that it will kill networking jobs ! Please guide !

      Hi John! Not all all. Cisco's DNA (www.cisco.com/go/dna) highlights how critical the network is to the future success of enterprises. Network engineers will be critical to the success of digital transformation projects. You can learn more about how networks will become more programmable and new skills you can learn from our DevNet Community: https://developer.cisco.com/

      • I think it's worth pointing out that Automation in the Data Center has not killed the jobs of Linux experts - quite the contrary, it seems to have made those skills even more relevant to business outcomes. Through abstraction and automation, the services these engineers build and offer as virtualized packages can be easily reused by others. Innovation is the result. We have to think in those terms as well when it comes to network services.

  2. The SD-WaN is for networks that can be configured within the same settings with security.

  3. I Hope U All Get This Message I'm So Tired Of This 30 R 40 PASSWORDS I Don't Know How Many Codes Over and Over For Wks U Think I Can Remember All That Now What Ever Need To B Done Do That & If This Not Free Delete All Have 2

  4. I hope that Chuck Robbins and John Chamber meet with Donald Trumps security teat about Cisco's Cyber threat platform and software. As we all know our country is open to attacks and Cisco can make a nice fortune selling its products to fix the hacking problems.

  5. How it related to our job ? Will it cut networking jobs as virtualization and software based networking will require less work force to look after if ? Will it do the same to networking guys what virtualization does to data center guys ?

      Hi Samuel. Cisco's DNA (www.cisco.com/go/dna) highlights how critical the network is to the future success of enterprises. Network engineers will be critical to the success of digital transformation projects. You can learn more about how networks will become more programmable and new skills you can learn from our DevNet Community: https://developer.cisco.com/

    Well said and very insightful Kiren. This all boils down to the demand for more choice in what we consume on the network. SD-WAN can allow users to participate in multiple virtual user groups and access more applications, content, and experiences. All of this allows Cloud and Network Service Providers more opportunity to monetize their services. The new software defined network will also enable a marketplace that can deliver customized value for consumers. We all win.

    • I am very much worried that it will affect network engineer jobs ! Should networking guys start thinking to other roads like security or embedded systems ?

        Hi Rahul! Cisco's DNA (www.cisco.com/go/dna) highlights how critical the network is to the future success of enterprises. Network engineers will be critical to the success of digital transformation projects. You can learn more about how networks will become more programmable and new skills you can learn from our DevNet Community: https://developer.cisco.com/

      Thanks Paul! When you pull together SD-WAN, Cloud and NFV enterprises will have a greater choice on how they want to architect their networks. They also have a larger marketplace they can leverage.

  6. without a highly-focused level of visibility into customer environments, troubleshooting won’t be as smooth as customers expect.

      Thanks Ghayour. You also can't prioritize traffic across the WAN without visibility. You can't control what you can't see.

      • You got my point Kiran. Appreciate your response.

    Kiran, Thanks for sharing.

  7. nice post thanks for sharing https://zinnga.com/collections/buy-festival-sarees-online

    Great !!! If we used this is in Master-Slave structure as in Data Center (Nexus) virtualization then we need more security with SD-WAN.

    • Not to be rude but can you remove or rename the use of master/slave structure from being read publicly?

  8. 105.110.58.155

  9. Great blog. Managed services is a compelling value proposition for SD-WAN. However, i also feel that these services should be able to coexist with current devices provisioned at the enterprise edge. Most of the enterprises already have invested services as physical network functions. It is a thin line but with the right choice a business can save substantially on the CAPEX. The overall WAN is going through an agile transformation, so early movers with products offering flexibility in orchestrating/provisioning managed services are the ones who will lead the race.

      Thanks Purnendu. It is definitely not a one-size fits all approach and will be up service providers and their customers to determine if a hardware or software solution will meet their needs.

  10. Great!! I strongly agree point 1 to 5.

    Good post. I particularly agree with points 3 & 4 above - many companies will want a broader set of NFVs available on their selected platform to move to virtualized infrastructure.

      Thanks Dan. Virtualization will will open up more options for how enterprises want to architect their WAN. More options will enable enterprises to choose the solution that best meets their budget.

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