Among the societal effects of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the value of working remotely has been clearly illustrated. Many of the organizations least affected by the pandemic’s shutdowns have been those configured to support employees who work from home.
Networking technologies such as SD-WAN have been instrumental in the ability to provide this support. Among its benefits have been solving WAN bandwidth limitations, providing reliability and resiliency, and improving the user experience of cloud-based applications.
With those factors in mind, the following emerging trends in SD-WAN are poised to make it an even more valuable resource.
From optimizing routing paths to accommodate traffic and bandwidth needs to accelerating traffic between clouds, SD-WAN is proving to be a ready enabler of multi-cloud environments. SD-WAN’s ability to prioritize applications leveraging multi-clouds and enforce specific security and compliance protocols make it ideal for optimizing performance and connectivity between clouds.
Another benefit is SD-WAN’s capability to integrate a variety of providers, enabling IT managers to assemble the ideal portfolio for an organization’s specific needs.
With that said, it’s also important to evaluate the mid-term viability of your SD-WAN supplier. The market is in growth phase right now, so some vendors are going to make it and others are not. This makes it all the more important to choose vendors carefully.
Points of Presence (PoPs) Integration
Efforts are underway by Microsoft and Amazon to enable their customers to access the cloud faster. Moreover, all leading SD-WAN providers are configuring their products to better integrate with the leading cloud platforms. This integration with major providers at PoPs will make networks faster and more secure.
The beauty of SD-WAN is it leverages the abundant bandwidth available on the net. However, this is also a potential weakness, as internet connections can be relatively unsecure. Leading SD-WAN providers are working to ensure secure access is an integral aspect of their platforms.
Encryption, along with stateful firewalls, have increasingly become integral aspects of their offerings. On the horizon are more protection-oriented features including intrusion prevention systems, URL and content filtering, malware detection and DDoS protection. Look also for the ability to automate the flow of traffic between network links, as well as permit and deny traffic from certain locations.
Reliability concerns of traditional WAN are mitigated by the ability of SD-WANs to enable network admins to establish policies capable of shaping traffic and ensuring reliability.
AI and ML-based algorithms are being employed to enable forwarding decisions on a per-packet basis. They’re also supporting reactive decisions to problems. This has the potential to relieve the burdens of managing and consolidating the efforts of remote offices from a central point.
These developments are fostering the deployment of more autonomous and self-healing SD-WANs.
The Coming of Age of 5G
The adoption of 5G opens a wide variety of new opportunities for SD-WAN. The platform’s mobility and speed are unrivaled by anything currently in use, including fiber MPLS deployments. While 5G is currently being employed as a failover solution, the day is rapidly approaching when it will become the highway and fiber will serve as the backup. Among 5G’s advantages are primary access and load balancing, security and bandwidth improvements as well as its capability of bringing remote geographic locations into easy reach.
These are but five of many emerging trends in SD-WAN. Rapidly establishing itself as an integral aspect of IT infrastructure, SD-WAN’s management, automation and orchestration capabilities also make it useful for identifying slowdowns and outages, quickly connecting IoT devices, monitoring the status of a network and unifying management consoles.
In other words, it’s making life a whole lot easier for IT professionals.