SD-WAN and Cloud Disrupt Traditional Networks

By: Max Michaels| - Leave a comment

Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) represents the most significant advancement in enterprise connectivity in 20 years. As clouds increasingly become the destination for workloads, SD-WAN fuels the convergence of networks with cloud and security. What are the implications for your enterprise network and cloud strategy? New pathways have emerged for Software Defined Networking across clouds, data centers and branches.

In fact, a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) report1 anticipates that 70% of users will move to flexible SD-WAN solutions within two years and that the market will grow 69% by 2021. Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnels over broadband access are priced substantially lower than traditional enterprise connections. Besides price, performance benefits such as security, agility, scalability and network visibility explain the fast adoption rate.

Network is the Cloud

Traditional networks use expensive Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) to support many customers on a single network. SD-WAN solutions offer security and scalability and steer network traffic through multiple service providers to multi-cloud platforms. In other words, networks drive clouds (network is the cloud).

Several telecom service providers and network equipment vendors are pursuing this vision. In Building the Network of the Future: Getting Smarter, Faster, and More Flexible with a Software Centric Approach, John Donovan and Krish Prabhu describe how integrating key SD-WAN capabilities deeper into an enterprise network improves network utilization and provides benefits to customers.

Telecom companies operate software-defined distributed private clouds running Communications as a Service (CaaS). In this architecture,  bandwidth consumption over private networks increases along with the quality of service.

Cloud becomes the Network

Some disruptors implement cloud-centric SD-WAN solutions where virtual networks live in the cloud. In a recent study, 30 Silicon Valley companies at the forefront of SD-WAN rapid growth were evaluated. They enable control and orchestration from any cloud gateway or customer edge to launch hybrid networks over public and private networks.

There’s an emphasis on application-level steering of network traffic. As clouds get more distributed and computing moves toward the edge, scalability and performance increase. The VPN tunnels over-the-top (OTT) of broadband are encrypted with Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) ensuring data security in transit. Additional security features may be added through Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) at cloud gateways and edges.

Secure Cloud Network

SD-WAN integrates your multi-cloud strategies

Two SD-WAN architectures are battling for command of the converged $100 billion plus marketand IBM is at the epicenter. IBM Cloud platform gives enterprises a secure on-ramp to hosted applications in multi-cloud environments. By installing SD-WAN at cloud gateways, IBM can help reduce your reliance on expensive, private MPLS networks. Enterprise customers can expand into markets where high connectivity costs make secure operations untenable, such as ATMs or kiosks in rural areas. IBM can host bespoke VNFs for security, resiliency and analytics — powered by IBM Watson — to deliver a secure, seamless experience.

How can you use IBM technology and services to define your SD-WAN strategy? Talk to an IBM expert about your needs.


[1] https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS42925117

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About The Author

Max Michaels

Global General Manger Network Services, IBM

Global executive roles at industry-leading information and communication technology companies; leads cross business unit initiatives as VP of Corporate Strategy at AT&T; led Cisco's business development and investments across 130 Emerging Countries working with CXOs of leding telcos. Led strategy and corporate development at Tyco Electronics. Based in the New York and London offices of Morgan Stanley and McKinsey & Co., served clients across industries as the chief executive of a venture capital firm, and served on the boards of several software companies.