SD-WAN: A Box of Chocolates that Makes Applications Dance

More than 800 Trusted Advisors and their business customers from around the industry registered to attend the AVANT’s “CIO Insights” webinar, in which six CXOs discussed offerings and market conditions around SD-WAN technologies.

The hour-long Internet event featured a spirited discussion on how SD-WAN has become the tech industry’s “box of chocolates” through which enterprise decision-makers can choose among a variety of options and “flavors” that all reside within the same “box” of SD-WAN.

In other words, depending on what your company needs, a different approach to SD-WAN may be the correct fit.

For example, Matt Carter, CEO of Aryaka came to the table with a global SD-WAN network featuring low latency access to a wide variety of distant and diverse countries such as China.

Cato Networks, meanwhile, provides security centric SD-WAN provider, reflecting the background of CEO panelist Sholomo Kramer’s who was at the forefront of the establishment of Checkpoint Software.

Representing Comcast, Bob Victor, former Comcast Business CFO and current head of product, discussed their fully managed Versa solution with its own carrier connectivity, although use of the Comcast network is not a prerequisite for the use of the company’s SD-WAN network.

Masergy CEO James Parker offered his global network of MPLS and SD-WAN with security management and UCaaS capabilities.

Versa Networks, CDO and founder Kumar Mehta, distinguished its Versa Titan product in the areas of self-management, and branch office/retail.

Led by AVANT president and cofounder Drew Lydecker, the discussion focused on how the Trusted Advisor movement is instrumental in the deployment and momentum of SD-WAN, which is making traditional networking and security models obsolete. According to AVANT’s internal data, more than 80 percent of enterprise customers work with Trusted Advisors in order to help them get the most out of their technology investmentsand, by extension, solve business problems.

The world lives at layer 7, according to Lydecker, who added that SD-WAN is a critical component in “making applications dance;” a colorful way of describing how leveraging the correct technologies can make applications run much faster and with greater efficacy and security. In fact, there is currently a convergence of SD-WAN and security technologies that is not only boosting application performance but also preserving the integrity and safety of data.

In our current landscape, technologies are not only converging with one another, they are also displacing one another in a trend that is truly the sign of the times. SD-WAN, for example, is making market share inroads against MPLS which, coincidentally, remains in growth mode by capitalizing on the strength of its legacy position at the core of enterprise networks. Meanwhile, UCaaS is rapidly displacing the legacy PBX at a highly impressive rate. Many experts on the panel agreed that the days of the PBX are numbered and that the number is declining rapidly. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is widely predicted to make a splash in the current year, and, of course, co-location and security continue to gain momentum.

With numbers projected to reach $4.4 billion by 2023, SD-WAN is also among the hot topics of the year; hence our decision to feature this technology in a forum of key business leaders.

There are a variety of variations on the theme. According to AVANT’s internal data, 54 percent of SD-WAN customers are leveraging a fully managed service, 21 percent have commissioned a co-managed service, and 25 percent are using it exclusively through the support of their own teams, often in conjunction with Trusted Advisors.

Buyers are urged to evaluate not only the potential cost savings of SD-WAN, but to evaluate it based on the degree to which the technology will help you to get the most out of your existing resources, or even to get the most out of resources that you are intending to acquire. It’s interesting to note that discussions around UCaaS and bandwidth-hungry SaaS applications often spark discussions around SD-WAN as an important enabling technology. In fact, cost savings can often be maximized by approaching related technologies as a solution, as opposed to a series of discrete point products. To make matters simpler, SD-WAN does not need to be instituted with a forklift upgrade. Customers can start to adopt it incrementally and thereby gain the level of experience and track record with a new technology before adopting wider deployment.

The deployment of SD-WAN is relatively straightforward, but it remains a long way from plug-and-play. Thus, the managed services delivery model has proven to be a popular option at the technology’s current level of development.

In any case, your Trusted Advisor will be vigilant in developing the right solution to match your challenges and resources.

AVANT would like to thank Matt Carter, CEO of Aryaka, Schlomo Kramer, CEO of Cato Networks, Bob Victor, Head of Product at Comcast Business, James Parker, CEO of Masergy, and Kumar Mehta, Chief Data Officer of Versa Networks for participating in this important Internet discussion.

Stay in touch with your Trusted Advisor for our next CIO Insight Webinar on the State of Security, March 18th, Noon Central, with another powerhouse panel of technology leaders.

To view the full CIO Insights webinar, please click here. https://youtu.be/4XxzJIVJ89o