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Open Systems 2020 Predictions: Three Critical Trends Driving the SD-WAN Industry

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Moritz Mann, Head of Product Management, Open Systems

Three Critical Trends Driving the SD-WAN Industry

The cloud is driving innovation everywhere, from new customer experiences, automation, internet of things (IoT) applications to mobile apps to global application delivery, unified communication and collaboration. The need to manage networks across hybrid on-premises and cloud resources is forcing enterprise to rethink their existing, often MPLS-based, network architectures with an SD-WAN that can centralize the management of a network connecting all endpoints, things, applications including multiple clouds. So it's no surprise that according to IDC, the SD-WAN market is predicted to reach $8 billion by 2021.

Still, because SD-WAN is a relatively young technology, in 2020, we will see three critical developments that will reshape the SD-WAN market.

Edge Computing Gets Real and ignite the "Hybrid Cloud" paradigm shift

Edge computing use cases have been discussed for quite some time. The edge-to-cloud architecture decentralizes data processing to the edge of the network, reducing the amount of data that needs to be transferred to a central datacenter. Edge computing can also reduce application latency and decrease vulnerability to attacks on data streams - improvements that are especially important for the IoT. However, edge computing applications have been slow to emerge. That changes in 2020.

Microsoft announced Azure Stack Edge at this year's Ignite and Amazon AWS Outposts became generally available. Initially available for enterprise datacenters, the solution will also be offered in new architectures including first 5G edge computing use cases. In addition, SD-WAN has emerged as the ideal solution for connecting all the different network endpoints that make up the edge computing architecture to protect a resilient application delivery and quality of user experience. In fact, with SD-WAN, datacenters and clouds can be seen as simply "large" edge points that are really no different than "small" edge points. What this means is using SD-WAN for edge computing enables central orchestration and easier data aggregation for analysis purposes. These developments will make it easier and safer to roll out production applications based on edge computing. And these successful applications will demonstrate to the wider industry how the cloud is becoming the new enterprise network. So, cloud providers are lifting the fog between cloud and on-prem application workloads and users wherever they are by becoming the new enterprise network.

Enterprises Will Target SD-WAN Security

As enterprises rely more heavily on hybrid multi-cloud environments and SD-WANs, end-to-end network security will become an overriding issue. Successful cybersecurity requires a combination of good cyber hygiene and effective cybersecurity practices. Good cyber hygiene means having a single, centralized solution for managing and protecting the entire network and all user - being on-prem, in the cloud or mobile. Further, since SD-WAN routers are connected directly to the public network, effective cybersecurity practices demand that an SD-WAN solution that transmits sensitive data should have extensive security features, such as next-generation firewalls, intrusion prevention, malware protection and advanced threat intelligence, detection and response.

Because many enterprises lack the internal expertise to ensure effective SD-WAN cybersecurity practices, we will see a dramatic increase in companies turning to an experienced service provider to implement a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution, which combines an SD WAN with network security services, zero trust concepts to deliver optimal security along with increased network flexibility, scalability, performance and resource utilization.

Demand for Managed SD-WAN Services Will Soar

It isn't just enterprises that find managing an SD-WAN challenging. Even large managed service providers (MSPs) and system integrators have struggled to integrate a standard SD-WAN solution and manage it successfully for their end customers. As a result, the demand for managed, converged SD-WAN and SASE services will increase exponentially in 2020.

Utilizing a managed service SD-WAN also presents the opportunity to rethink the two-tiered approach to network and security, and we can expect the silos between these two disciplines to dissolve over the coming year. This will lead to more efficient network management and improved security best practices. Enterprises should focus on selecting between truly integrated service platforms versus service chained offers.

With the maturing of managed SD-WAN services, the introduction of SASE, the continued adoption of hybrid multi-cloud environments, and the rollout of 5G, we could not be more excited about the technology innovations we will see in 2020.  

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About the Author

Moritz Mann 

Moritz Mann studied at the Dualen Technical College Baden-Württemberg (DHBW) in Lörrach, Germany. He holds a degree in Information Systems. Additionally, he has earned a Bachelor in Business Administration from Open University in Milton Keynes, UK.

After finishing his studies, Moritz Mann joined Open Systems AG directly. Between 2012 and 2017, he held the responsibility for Mission Control Operations in Zurich and Sydney, after having worked in different roles in Development, Professional Services and Sales. In mid-2017, he became the Chief Product Officer, responsible for product development in the market.

Published Friday, January 31, 2020 7:24 AM by David Marshall
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