Predictions for SD-WAN
This year was a significant year for Mushroom Networks, but also for the industry as a whole. In our humble opinion, the most compelling change in the past year has been the recognition that the WAN has become the performance bottleneck for cloud services. Most of us working closely with this technology have already come to this conclusion, but it’s become a truism this year. This was already a driver for SD-WAN’s incredible success as a technology, but as this concept takes hold industry-wide, IT organizations (you) will continue to push vendors (us) to create even more compelling in-roads to Virtual Network Functions (VNF) that will enable businesses to alleviate this performance burden.
All that said, now is the time of year that we look forward and make some prognostications of what’s to come. Here are eight of Mushroom Networks’ market predictions for next year.
Interoperability with legacy systems will remain the biggest barrier to SD-WAN adoption
While many enterprises have easily overcome this issue to drive SD-WAN’s massive growth, this will continue to be the biggest barrier for more conservative businesses in terms of adoption. Those vendors that provide mechanisms for more seamless integration will have an advantage over those that expect this burden to fall on their enterprise customers.
SD-WAN’s focus will shift from control-plane optimization only to control-plan plus data-plane optimization.
For many, SD-WAN’s initial purchases were driven by its ability to provide lower costs and simpler configurations than traditional WANs. Now, as the technology has matured, IT organizations understand the potential for dramatic improvements in performance and reliability via advanced SD-WAN technology. Market leaders with the ability to harness SD-WANs for greater performance (such as Broadband Bonding) will have an advantage in coming years.
Virtual Network Functions (VNF) will drive the transformation of SD-WAN from simple cost reduction to full WAN performance management
SD-WAN is taking the next step from a “software-defined” architecture standpoint and making VNF available on an “a la carte” basis. This allows firms to mix and match to create their ideal custom WAN to support their enterprise cloud services. The level of flexibility provided is vast.
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) with multi-carrier service portfolios will have an edge over single-carrier service providers
The ability to blend various types of WAN technologies to enable unique redundancy and performance arbitration will deliver a major advantage over single carrier based WAN offerings.
SD-WAN architectures optimized for hybrid clouds will dominate market share this year
We expect architectures with connectivity optimization to hybrid clouds to take center stage, as many businesses, including larger enterprises, are adopting hybrid cloud strategies. As a result, the performance and connectivity between these joint private and public clouds are one of the most critical factors for success of those projects.
Essential business applications will drive SD-WAN’s adoption
Inline with hybrid cloud connectivity, essential business applications such as voice and video, as well as industry specific applications that rely on SaaS, or self-hosted cloud applications specific to the industry, will be the major driver for SD-WAN technology.
MPLS will stick around, but continue its dramatic decline in relevance and cost
As VNF technologies within SD-WAN solutions provide more and more advanced performance benefits, the price gap between MPLS-only vs hybrid WAN (with or without MPLS in the mix) needs to shrink for MPLS to stay competitive.
Advanced machine learning technologies will begin a long transition to integration with SD-WAN networks
Although this process will likely extend far beyond next year, as more and more intelligence is infused into software-defined networks, it is inevitable that AI and machine learning will begin to make inroads as well. The potential here for true cognitive networks capable of self-optimization across a host of applications is enormous.
Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.
Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.