Virtualization Technology News and Information
Opengear 2019 Predictions: SD-WAN in Every Branch Office

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Rick Stevenson, Chief Research Officer, Opengear

SD-WAN in Every Branch Office

Enterprise adoption of SD-WAN and NetOps technologies that make network infrastructure more cost-effective, scalable and resilient will accelerate throughout 2019, driven by ever-increasing requirements for uptime, bandwidth, compute power and faster deployment of applications and services. 

More specifically, here are predictions you can take to the bank over the coming year:

1. SD-WAN becomes truly ubiquitous.

The rapid pace of SD-WAN implementations will continue throughout 2019, simply because the technology has earned its reputation as a no-brainer for most enterprises.

SD-WAN offers an easy escape from the high cost of traditional T1 or MPLS circuits that many enterprises currently depend on to connect their branch offices, with SD-WAN delivering an ROI that ensures it and complementary solutions quickly pay for themselves. At the same time, SD-WAN offers a wealth of technical advantages, from easy cloud management and bandwidth scaling to dynamic reconfiguration and the ability to deploy new services as software, rather than needing to replace hardware. Given the fact that it has become functionally more expensive for enterprises not to make the transition, SD-WAN will quickly become the de facto solution present in virtually every branch office - to the degree that any location without it will face the question of why the heck it doesn't.

2. Managed SD-WAN offerings will flourish.

With SD-WAN's value proposition, enterprises that plan to adopt the technology across their locations will fuel a 2019 rise in Managed SD-WAN providers that offer the capabilities to facilitate that transition. Expect these service providers to deliver not just the requisite hardware and software, but full WAN monitoring and management, as well as add-on services like security and application performance enhancement.

IT-savvy enterprises will benefit from the flexibility of a DIY approach to SD-WAN implementation. However, for the large number of enterprises that don't have the internal expertise or desire to plan and design, a SD-WAN rollout through managed service providers will provide an effective alternative.

3. Awareness of SD-WAN security and resilience needs will increase.

As incidents like 2018's Cisco switch attacks become more prevalent, enterprises will develop a greater awareness and concern for the vulnerability of network hardware at remote locations.  The adoption of white box network appliances running open source operating systems and virtualized network functions provides a greater attack surface and makes network infrastructure a more attractive target for bad guys. The increased complexity of these solutions also raises the risks of accidental failure due to bugs and errors or interaction between components. As a result, more businesses will implement redundant solutions to avoid single points of failure, either through utilizing multiple sets of SD-WAN hardware or via autonomous out-of-band management device.

While many of today's enterprises might falsely view SD-WAN as a standalone solution, that understanding will evolve in 2019, such that enterprises will apply the same attention to security and resilience best practices as they would with any IT infrastructure solution. This includes prompt installation of security patches and close monitoring of security advisories. Because applying updates comes with a risk of malfunction and downtime, enterprises will find it essential to establish reliable remote management capabilities for incidents in which WAN connectivity is lost. For example, by racking an Opengear out-of-band management device alongside SD-WAN equipment at remote locations, staff will be able to gain remote access and remediate outage-causing issues, keeping downtime to an absolute minimum.

4. Enterprises will embrace NetOps to achieve more open, more automated, and more scalable networks.

The nebulous field of NetOps will become better defined in 2019 as network engineers continue to leverage open APIs, common configuration and telemetry standards, and virtualized network functions to support Internet-scale deployments, and reduce human error through automated processes.

Enterprises will similarly be drawn to NetOps as a means of joining the movement away from homogenous proprietary ecosystems and full-steam ahead toward white box deployments based on commodity hardware and open source components. Doing so enables businesses to build and scale networks quickly and flexibly, while avoiding vendor lock-in, increasing reliability, and decreasing costs. In anticipation of this trend, our own Opengear NetOps Automation platform recently launched to provide orchestration capabilities and automation for NetOps workflows, along with resilient out-of-band connectivity.  This combination allows enterprise management and automation systems to span the whole extended network, from the data center out to remote infrastructure. The Opengear NetOps platform supports containerized applications and custom modules as well, paving a path for enterprises to acquire the specific solutions they need without investing specialized resources.


About the Author


Rick Stevenson is Chief Research Officer at Opengear, a company that builds remote infrastructure management solutions for enterprises. Rick is a seasoned executive and technological visionary with over 30 years in senior roles at start ups as well as large computer and communications technology companies such as IBM and McAfee.

Published Wednesday, November 07, 2018 7:28 AM by David Marshall
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