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Talari Networks 2017 Predictions: What's Ahead for SD-WAN?

VMblog Predictions 2017

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2017.  Read them in this 9th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by John Dickey, Co-founder, President and COO, Talari Networks

2017: What's Ahead for SD-WAN?

As 2016 wraps up, the SD-WAN space can consider it a good year. The technology has become mainstream and has heavily flooded the market. New players have showed up and others have left. The key this year was having organizations figure out what SD-WAN solutions are built to last and are built to not fail. We've seen market consolidation take place (and surely there are more to come), but where is SD-WAN heading next?

As organizations have, unfortunately, experienced unplanned network outages within the last 12 months, the need for a reliable SD-WAN is greater now than ever. Currently, it's a matter of not spending money to recover from an unplanned outage due to downed mission-critical applications. So, let's look at where the market is headed.

How will end-users use SD-WAN differently?

SD-WAN will be an enabler for enhanced security and secure multi-tenancy in the branch office itself. What started out years ago as a simple guest Wi-Fi connected to a dedicated internet connection is now evolving to tailored zones for partner networks, contractor networks, guest networks at the branch with secure and reliable access to each branch office "tenant" user SaaS apps in and/or out of the enterprise network. Reliability and time sensitivity will be criteria. Data that rests in the branch will not be permitted, so interactive and real-time voice/video and RDP will dominate the traffic and the loss of network or responsiveness will be unacceptable.

The biggest challenge for SD-WAN? Scaling.

For many venders, maintaining a quality solution at scale is tough. We have been doing this a long time, so providing quality networks at scale is nothing new to us. Others will be very aggressive in their positioning of their offerings to land-grab quickly, but they will have issues by overextending their capabilities. It is important that an SD-WAN brand retains the overall quality of the proven and trusted solution providers.

Is MPLS done in 2017? Not quite.

MPLS is not going away. Just as the interstate did not eliminate the railroad, the best effort broadband internet will not eliminate MPLS. What it will be is more consolidated to particular use cases that can best be served by its capabilities. Carriers will continue to drop the price to slow this trend but the greater bandwidth and availability with broadband will hasten this trend. It will be part of hybrid networks for a long time to come, but it will be highly supplemented in the branch by wireline broadband and wireless.

For the SD-WAN market, it's no surprise that between now and 2020, the market will grow to $6 billion. There's still a lot of maturing to do in the market and 2017 should shape up to be an important year for the innovation of SD-WAN.

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About the Author

Before co-founding Talari Networks, John was senior director of software engineering at Applied Microcircuits (AMCC), where he led the architecture, design, and development of a broad array of switching and routing protocol software implementations for embedded systems. John joined AMCC upon its acquisition of MMC Networks, the pioneering maker of network-optimized processors (NPUs). He was also the founding Chair of the Network Processing Forum industry standards organization's Software Working Group and holds patents in multiple areas of networking technology. Prior to MMC, John held a variety of engineering and management positions at IBM and was distinguished as an Advisory Engineer. John earned a degree cumlaude in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh.

john dickey 

Published Thursday, November 03, 2016 6:19 AM by David Marshall
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