Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) was significantly impacted by the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. In early 2020, over 60% of companies said that they were initiating a roll-out of SD-WAN; but by late 2021, only 36% had deployed the network approach. This is according to new findings by Nemertes Research.
Many companies were forced to pause SD-WAN deployment, and shifts in technology priorities and the ongoing hybrid work setting have made network management more complicated. As the pandemic begins to show signs of subsiding, network teams can examine some emerging SD-WAN trends:
SD-WAN as a Service: Early adopters of SD-WAN tended to use a DIY model, which worked well for service delivery and to reduce overall network management workloads. These pioneers allowed DIY SD-WAN to continue to evolve and improve, and these changes put pressure on outsourced SD-WAN solutions to offer similar features and conveniences.
Managed SD-WAN has grown, with an increase in three years from 8% to half of all SD-WAN deployments by 2020. SD-WAN as a service or networking as a service (NaaS) offer redundancy and connectivity improvements, policy-driven traffic optimization, and prioritization, as well as improved visibility and control. It’s expected that the demand for managed SD-WAN will continue to grow.
Secure Remote Access With SD-WAN: SD-WAN is a main component of the fast-growing secure access service edge (SASE) approach to converged network and security functions. While some SD-WAN providers encourage SD-WAN endpoints in home offices, some suggest options that are in a cloudlike option. Rather than manage multiple virtual private network (VPN) devices at the data center to support remote access, secure connectivity is obtained in a subscription-based model as a service.
SD-WAN With AI: You will increasingly see AI-equipped SD-WAN from service providers, so that, in addition to features like optimizing network traffic, AI tools are expected to improve policy definitions and troubleshooting, as well as performance and security.
SD-WAN With WWAN: SD-WAN will increasingly include the use of last-mile connectivity through wireless links. With 4G and 5G services available, wireless wide area networking (WWAN) used in combination with SD-WAN will feature benefits like carrier diversity through a shared carrier used for wired connectivity and avoiding additional costs when good links are pulled to a new site.
Where WWAN is just one among many forms of connectivity, SD-WAN capabilities allow policy-based oversight of how and when to access WWAN as an option. If WWAN is the only option, the SD-WAN solution can sort traffic among different providers for load balancing and improved quality of service.
To learn more about the upcoming changes to SD-WAN features and availability, contact us at eXemplify. We can help you examine the benefits you might experience with an SD-WAN deployment and determine which features you should prioritize as you evaluate options.