Software-Defined Everything: The Rise and Rise of SD-WAN
As SD-WAN becomes the go-to solution for expanding businesses, we dive deeper into the benefits of this network technology and its growth across the wider industry.
Enterprises are living and working in an era of software-defined everything. From flexible on-demand cloud connectivity right through to agile backup solutions, businesses are reimagining the way they build out network architecture by incorporating virtualization technologies.
SD-WAN is arguably the most in-demand network solution right now and it’s only increasing in value as enterprises embark on more complex cloud and network journeys. Businesses are looking to simplify these strategies including the management of their WAN, and that’s where the software-defined element comes into play.
How SD-WAN works
SD-WAN decouples a company’s WAN transport services (or data forwarding plane) from its applications and centralizes the control function (or control plane) of the network. This makes building and managing long-distance networks easier and means you can centrally dictate and automatically program how applications are delivered to the user. SD-WAN enables you to use software to intelligently route traffic across the WAN based on business requirements for the application.
As a result, you can achieve a more consistent and predictable application performance compared to the traditional process of having control functions distributed across branches. It means that you’re not routing traffic back to headquarters which is particularly important for cloud workloads which usually experience low performance this way.
Benefits and use cases driving growth
Agility is key when it comes to doing business in the cloud age. SD-WAN enables flexibility and efficiency across your IT architecture. Enterprises need this kind of agility to support ever-growing complex cloud strategies. Using SD-WAN with multi-cloud connectivity, for example, enables you to seamlessly move data workloads between data centers, branches, and the public cloud, as mentioned by DarkReading.
SD-WAN supports the automation of typically manual tasks like maintenance and configuration changes – as well as the easy deployment of services and business sites – which equals greater business efficiency. Ultimately, this all reduces cost, time, and resources in the long run. Greater visibility is achieved by an SD-WAN overlay as it monitors the real-time performance of underlying networks. This gives you the choice of selecting the optimum network for each application through configuration policies, as pointed out by Cato Networks’s recent article. The performance of your workloads is critical to business output.
Market insights and industry developments
Between 2018 and 2026, the global SD-WAN market is forecasted to grow at a stable compound annual growth rate of around 58%, according to a recent report from CSO by IDG with North America anticipated to contribute the highest revenue share. IDC’s SD-WAN Infrastructure Forecast suggests that by 2023, the SD-WAN market is poised to reach $5.25 billion.
This growth is being fuelled by “...the increase in mobile data traffic, increasing number of cloud-based solutions, rising demand for mobility services, and enterprises’ focus on reducing Operational Expenditure (OPEX)...” according to CIO by IDG.
On top of this, key players have been consistently releasing products and services, and entering partnerships, within the SD-WAN space. Some recent announcements include:
- CloudGenix has partnered with CCISM to deliver managed SD-WAN and cloud-delivered branch office infrastructure
- Fortinet’s secure SD-WAN is now available on Equinix’s Network Edge platform
- Vodafone Ireland has launched its managed SD-WAN service
The demand for SD-WAN as a virtualization technology and a network management solution has grown significantly in recent years and this demand continues to rise. As developments in this space increase, we’ll continue to update our readers on the impact that SD-WAN may have on the user and the wider industry in our Software-Defined Everything series.
Ready to begin your SD-WAN journey or incorporate SD-WAN technologies into your network architecture? Start sourcing on Cloudscene’s Marketplace – create a listing to reach out to service providers to fulfil your SD-WAN requirements.