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Nuage Networks 2019 Predictions: Looking at SD-WAN - The Year of the Multi-Cloud and Managed Services

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

Contributed by Hussein Khazaal, Marketing & Partnership Program, Nuage Networks

Looking at SD-WAN into 2019: the year of the multi-cloud and managed services

The compelling second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence starts as follows: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." and while this is true for humanity it most definitely does not hold true for the various SD-WAN options available today.

Historically, SD-WAN solutions have been provided by vendors within three general groups:

  • Legacy vendors attempting to pivot from their core competency
  • Pure play vendors that have started from scratch with venture capital investments
  • Conglomerates that often leverage their enterprise market incumbency and offer a portfolio of acquired solutions

Until now, some of these vendors have essentially provided agile connectivity in an operationally efficient manner allowing enterprises to get a little more from their WAN. However, although some of these early offerings have helped improve enterprise WANs they have also been rife with challenges that the enterprise had to deal with.

In pursuit of growth, legacy players attempted a pivot from their core competency (e.g. WAN optimization, security, routing, etc.) and have bolted on a handful of SD-WAN features that complement their incumbent solution, resulting in a limited SD-WAN deployment. More importantly, these solutions lack the flexibility required to meet the demands of today's enterprise customers.

Pure play SD-WAN players attempted to fill that gap with a focus on WAN connectivity, but many lack hardened and comprehensive networking features due to their limited expertise in delivering reliable solutions that can support large scale multi-cloud deployments. This drawback introduces unnecessary risk to an already challenging environment.

Large conglomerates represent incumbent vendors in the enterprise market who try to leverage their large customer base to parlay into SD-WAN wins. For these SD-WAN offerings, enterprises are locked into inflexible and sometimes proprietary hardware. This is contrary to the industry shift towards x86-based commodity CPEs that offer openness, flexibility and an easy path toward virtualization and agility. In an effort to capture more of the enterprise market, conglomerates try to be all things to all enterprises and offer multiple overlapping and complicated solutions. This approach is not only inflexible but can also be confusing to the enterprise and complicates the decision making process.

In addition, there is a large disconnect between what enterprise IT needs and all the available offerings. Many enterprises run their business applications in a multi-cloud environment that includes public or private clouds and are consuming increasingly more SaaS applications. These needs have fueled the growth and the merging of SDN, NFV, and SD-WAN cloud technologies. Unfortunately for the market, SDN and SD-WAN solutions are offered as distinct products with different management and control systems and completely different data and policy models. Putting these separate solutions into production creates massive operational overhead and complexity, leaving enterprise IT teams with inflexible and less secure networks that are expensive to operate and manage. In the end, these separate solutions can leave the enterprise worse off than they were before.

In an effort to overcome these challenges and the confusing vendor landscape, many enterprises will soon realize the need for a single multi-cloud platform that eliminates the aforementioned challenges. This platform should be purpose-built from the ground up with the goal of securely connecting users to applications anywhere without restrictions. This platform should be open and should not inherit the fragility and lack of features that legacy solutions have while being built from inception for the needs of the enterprise consumer.

In a recent global survey by Frost & Sullivan, 75% of enterprise IT decision makers looking at SD-WAN indicated a preference to consume SD-WAN as a managed service with the option to either co-manage that service with full visibility and control or be completely hands-off with the managed service provider having full responsibility.

2019 will be a defining year for the enterprise adoption of SD-WAN because many enterprises have a better understanding of what their long-term network and security needs are. In addition, many of the service providers have launched SD-WAN services to meet these needs today and have plans to adapt to future needs. This clarity in requirements and availability of robust services that meet these requirements will leave many SD-WAN product vendors with very limited options, leading to market consolidation that favors a handful of strong players.


About the Author


Hussein Khazaal leads Nuage Networks Marketing & Partnership Program. Prior to this role, Hussein served as Sr. Director, Business Development. Before joining Nuage Networks in 2014, Hussein served as Vice President, Operations & Customer Service at Ciinow, a cloud services start-up that was acquired by Google in 2014. Prior to that, Hussein was a Management Consultant at Alvarez & Marsala, a leading management consulting firm, where he delivered performance improvement, turnaround management and business advisory services to Fortune 1000 companies seeking to transform operations and grow their business.

Earlier in his career, Hussein held leadership roles at Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Cyras Systems (Acquired by Ciena) and Newbridge Networks (acquired by Alcatel). Hussein holds a B.Eng. (EE) from the University of Dalhousie and an M.B.A. from UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

Published Friday, January 04, 2019 7:16 AM by David Marshall
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