New Developments in SD-WAN Technology

SD-WAN is a rapidly growing trend in Enterprise IT management, encompassing many different products and services from a wide variety of companies actively competing in the sector. The current SD-WAN technology landscape includes hardware manufacturers, software development companies, and SDWaaS (SD-WAN as a Service) platforms.

Most of the major hardware manufacturers of network routers, switches, and server appliances now compete in the SD-WAN sphere or are developing new products for launch. Third-party software development companies offer integration platforms that work across multiple hardware standards, enabling complex business organizations to optimize the performance of their current WAN resources.

SDWaaS companies facilitate the outsourcing of complete SD-WAN solutions to public cloud or secured, remote-hosted private cloud deployments to support complex hybrid multi-cloud orchestration at scale. IT professionals need to focus on new developments in the SD-WAN sector in order to more cost-effectively manage the daily operation of corporate network deployments for employees, service clients, and wholesale/retail customers.

SD-WAN is one of the fastest growing standards in the Fortune 500, with a recent IDC report forecasting that global SD-WAN infrastructure and service revenues will reflect a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 69.6% in enterprise corporations over the next 2 years. Uptake adoption of SD-WAN technology in the largest international business organizations is expected to top 50% by the year 2022.

In this article, we will review the main hardware, software, and SDWaaS providers in the SD-WAN sector to illustrate how the largest IT companies, network routing manufacturers, and software start-up firms are building upon recent advances in cloud computing to produce innovative new solutions for enterprise corporations relying on legacy WAN infrastructure for daily business operations.

SD-WAN: Major Hardware Manufacturers & Standards

In most instances, the major IT manufacturers of network routers, switches, cables, and server appliances are all also involved in developing the software for SD-WAN technology, offering the two together to enterprise clients as a complete package. The advantages of this are a swifter deployment and installation process, while the risks are inter-compatibility and vendor lock-in. The major IT manufacturers of network routing equipment are also the leaders in SD-WAN software development, pointing to the priority these companies have placed upon the standard going forward.

The main hardware manufacturers of SD-WAN equipment & solutions currently are Adaptiv Networks,  Cisco, Barracuda Networks, Citrix, Fortinet, Huawei, NTTT, Talari Networks and ZTE. Cisco vManage is the market leader in the SD-WAN sector with integrated orchestration, analytics, and API configuration. The key aspect of SD-WAN is to separate the data and control panes so as to deliver a hybrid cloud utilization of hardware resources in a vendor-agnostic manner. By providing an integrated dashboard and configuration panel, network administrators can set strict rule & policy-based controls on all data connections or transfers conducted by authenticated users, guests, and hosted software applications.

Barracuda’s CloudGen Firewalls focus on security through smart VPN tunneling with support for MPLS, broadband, fiber, and other legacy WAN standards. Citrix SD-WAN provides full path selection, firewalls, load balancing, and QoS with support for SaaS apps, public cloud hosts, virtual desktops, and private data center hardware. The Huawei SD-WAN solution is designed to reduce operating costs up to 80% for enterprise companies. NTT has one of the most advanced SD-WAN service portfolios, with local support for over 190 countries. ZTE offers an innovative, new elastic server architecture for corporate WANs.

SD-WAN: Software Development Companies & Solutions

Microsoft and VMware are the currently the most advanced companies in SD-WAN software development, providing complete data center management packages to the largest enterprise corporations in the world. Many third-party software development companies compete in the SD-WAN sector for business as integrators or by offering specific utilities that can be plugged into existing corporate networks.

Oracle purchased Talari Networks in 2018 in order to compete more effectively with Microsoft and VMware in SD-WAN software solutions. Juniper currently offers the Contrail SD-WAN, NorthStar Controller, and WANDL IP/MPLSView solutions which compete with other multi-cloud orchestration software packages for enterprise-level SD-WAN deployments.

The SD-WAN software product ecosystem is well-funded with venture capital start-ups that seek to compete with the IT majors for the enterprise market. Many of these companies are designed to be acquired into the larger product portfolio of a telecom company, internet conglomerate, or software giant. Silver Peak, BigLeaf Networks, Gluware, CloudGenix , Teridion, and Viptela are some of the main start-up company leaders innovating in the SD-WAN software solutions sector today.

SDWaaS: Enterprise SD-WAN as a Service Providers

VMware purchased VeloCloud in 2018 for $448 million USD in order to jump-start their enterprise-ready SDWaaS platform. Other main competitors in the SDWaaS field are Aryaka, Cato Networks, and Elfiq.

SDWaaS simplifies the deployment of a SD-WAN on public cloud hardware for complex business organizations, where the entire installation process can be completed in hours rather than months. This results in huge cost savings for enterprise corporations in IT talent spend. As most enterprise companies have already fully committed to public cloud outsourcing for hardware and SaaS platforms have become standard in the global office space, SDWaaS offers network administrators the ability to extend these processes to the remote-hosting of secure WAN deployments on multi-cloud fundamentals.

Aryaka allows enterprise corporations to remote host their entire private cloud requirements with SD-WAN traffic optimization, user authentication, encryption, data security, and administration permissions configured through a unified GUI. Cato Networks is a completely cloud-based SD-WAN service with enterprise-grade security. Elfiq operates on multi-cloud and hybrid cloud orchestration models with SDN-level virtualization and routing capabilities. The SD-WAN Atlas Suite is the most feature-rich SDWaaS product available on the market currently.

Increasing Network Speed, Data Security, & Hardware Efficiency

SD-WAN solutions offer IT administrators a means to unify their network security and optimize traffic for better overall speed in daily operations. WAN deployments are used in nearly every enterprise corporation or complex business organization for internal operations and client/product/service support. Corporate IT departments currently include a wide mixture of software and hardware products from thousands of different independent vendors, each with unique microservice runtime and application-based data security requirements.

The old generation of network routers previously used in WAN/LAN architecture does not have the power and flexibility of the latest generation of SD-WAN utilities, nor can legacy devices typically interconnect with WiFi, IoT, or cloud services under strict rule or policy-based security controls. SD-WAN solutions can be used to optimize corporate network data transfer speeds as well as establish company security rules on internet connections, including the real-time inspection of packet transmissions for known malware, viruses, trojans, or worms.

Improving WAN security, network transmission speeds, and increasing legacy hardware efficiency are some of the main reasons for adopting SD-WAN solutions, enabling network administrators to build hybrid cloud constructs which can be installed with respect to corporate policies on data encryption, user verification, and web/app server administration permissions.

SD-WAN technology is constantly evolving, both through well funded VC start-up software companies and the development of hardware manufacturing by IT majors, with accelerated corporate uptake projected across the Fortune 500.