The Evolution of SD-WAN

With adoption of the technology increasing year on year and organisations relying even more heavily on connectivity as a result of Covid-19, what does the future hold for SD-WAN?

How has SD-WAN evolved in the short time since its inception and what does the future hold for this revolutionary technology?

The market for Software-defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) has become increasingly more relevant in today’s IT landscape, particularly as the technologies that support it, and the overarching concept, are growing out of their infancy and into maturity.

The rise of SD-WAN should not come as a surprise to anyone who has had their eye on enterprise networking. As connectivity has become increasingly more important in all aspects of the enterprise, so have the technologies that facilitate that demand such as SD-WAN.

With origins stemming from the adoption of software-defined networking and virtual customer premises equipment that showed the need & appetite for a more intuitive, intelligent approach to branch connectivity, SD-WAN technologies have rapidly evolved in the short time since its inception.

SD-WAN unites technologies for exciting interactions

The reason why SD-WAN has evolved so significantly is because it supports and indeed has the potential to bring together a wide breadth of technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT) adoption in the enterprise market.

For IoT specifically, security is one of the biggest concerns of network specialists worldwide. In the enterprise, peace of mind in regards to IoT devices is hard to come by, especially when considering that such devices are the most common victims of malware attacks.

With SD-WAN, however, those concerns can be directly addressed and often resolved. Creating specific security profiles and managing network traffic from IoT devices becomes feasible right away and so adoption of such technologies can proceed without the aforementioned security fears, or at least within reason.

Leading on from that, another benefit of SD-WAN is the ability to bring together all those different technologies in an effort to benefit the entire ecosystem at the same time.

AI, Automation, and beyond: the “hidden” benefits of SD-WAN

It is important to note that these are clear markings of the evolution of SD-WAN. These benefits are now starting to be realised and may well become standard practice in the near future.

More specifically, the nature of SD-WAN allows for a lot more automation, management, and programmability than previous solutions could ever have accounted for.

Now, it is possible to combine Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to better understand and resolve any potential issues that can and will probably arise from emerging technologies such as IoT and the security implications that they will bring with them to the enterprise market.

In addition to the security advantages, any potential performance issues could be identified and addressed in a much more automated manner, even allowing for network managers to resolve such issues before they arise based on previously identified patterns.

What the future holds

In 2020, one of the focal points for SD-WAN will be integrating security not as an afterthought but as a vital part of the implementation. With the rapid and inevitable rise of 5G and the IoT expansion that will arrive with it, such implementations will have to become the norm rather than the exception.

Another focal point will be a much bigger focus on the cloud. Already, SD-WAN suppliers and infrastructure providers work closely with SaaS and IaaS platforms to integrate their services seamlessly. Moving forward, these integrations will improve even further, particularly in order to help migrations from legacy platforms.

Finally, automation will start to play a much bigger role. As mentioned before, this is one of the primary ways through which SD-WAN will be able to anticipate potential security threats as well as streamline the management of emerging technologies in the enterprise and any issues those might bring.

Overall, 2020 looks to be another important year for SD-WAN, both in terms of its adoption in the enterprise market, and its potential to bring together different kinds of technologies in a more secure and manageable way.

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