SOME CONTEXT

There are currently more than 40 vendors who claim to have an SD-WAN solution, and the capabilities and features of these vary wildly based on their interpretation of what SD-WAN is. Two main camps are emerging with “full fat” SD-WAN where there is rich feature support for capabilities such as multi-link bonding, deep application awareness and full application based routing, as well as the ability to map the application to the specific underlay based on expected and actual quality of the underlying circuit.

The second camp is more of an SD-WAN “Lite” with the ability to use multiple links with a limited level of application routing and hard failover to the secondary link. Each of these models however has a place in the market and as always customer use case is key in which of these models you as a business deploy.

A FULL ON TECHNOLOGY LAND GRAB

When considering the ‘who’s who’ of Vendor landscape, with 40 vendors you would expect the market to be ripe for consolidation, and this is exactly what we have seen. 2020 was the first significant market consolidation since Cisco bought Viptela and VMware bought Velocloud in 2017, and Oracle bought Talari in 2018. In 2020 Palo Alto bought its way into the market with the acquisition of CloudGenix, Juniper acquired 128T to bolster their SD-WAN offerings and most significantly of all HPE Aruba snapped up one of the market leaders in its acquisition of Silver Peak.

HPE Aruba already had an SD-WAN offering but this was more around the increasing move of enterprise networking vendors towards a converged “SD-Branch” model where LAN/WIFI/Security and SD-WAN are all easily integrated and configured and managed through a single management portal.

It will be interesting to see whether any of the vendors who do not move to this “SD-Branch” offering will survive in their current form or whether they will also evolve their service offering towards a wider solution such as SASE.

FINAL THOUGHT

If you are currently considering SD-WAN, choose a vendor solution that aligns to the key strategic requirements in your business case. This is sometimes easier said than done but it highlights the fact that SD-WAN is not one thing to all people and there seems to be no one model that fits all customers. With a busier field of vendors and more choice, the role of a good integration partner is more valuable than ever.

Covid may have slowed the delivery of SD-WAN in respect to deployment numbers but the technology landscape has been very active both in acquisition and development (SASE). How this will manifest in 2021 makes for an exciting next chapter for SD-WAN and with the hope of a resolution to the Covid pandemic we will once again see the rise in this key enterprise technology.

If you would like to discover how Axians helped national, European and global organisations achieve their SD-WAN ambitions, and also to understand how the Axians approach to working with customers ensures that technology and process choices deliver against business expectations, then contact us via the link below and we will be happy to share our story.

Chris Gilmour CTO and SD-WAN lead for Axians