Secure SD-WANs For Multi-cloud Connectivity Essential in 2019

January 02, 2019

By Arti Loftus, Special Correspondent

By 2022, IHS (News - Alert) Markets predicts SD-WAN will be a $3.6B market, with the first wave of SD-WAN market consolidation behind us, and early market adopter companies transitioning to mainstream buyers. This includes expansion of SD-WAN to offerings including enhanced security and WAN optimization on top of the basic WAN transport virtualization in place today.

Scott Raynovich, Principal Analyst at Futorium research, sees similar opportunities, as great adoption of not just “the cloud” but “multi-cloud” strategies are driving fundamental changes in how networks are built and managed, with a flexible architecture than can support secure connections to different clouds based on different applications.

“The natural on-ramp connection point to the cloud is the WAN edge,” Raynovich said. “This is where enterprises around the world tap into the growing world of cloud applications. It’s also where they need to plug in new security and SD-WAN software that can safely and efficiently negotiate this complex environment and deliver contextual policies across global locations.”

A report from another industry observer, Maverick Research, recently indicated that 83 percent of U.S. CIOs estimated more than half of their transactions would be conducted on a cloud infrastructure by 2020.

79 percent of the respondents predicted that more than half of their transactions would be completed on applications leased using a SaaS (News - Alert) platform by 2020.

“We need to prepare for this cloud wave now,” Raynovich said. “Enterprise networking infrastructure needs a major transformation just to keep up with this cloud movement and multi-source congestion from SaaS. The legacy network was built for an era of static connections, when enterprises built their own private networks with mostly proprietary hardware to connect to client/server networks.”

Cloud networks have entirely different requirements from client/server networks. Digital transformation is driving an architecture transformation of the edge network. Multi-cloud inbound traffic and SaaS applications are adding to pressure on the WAN as enterprises seek to enhance the customer experience and employee engagement as competitive differentiators. Enterprises are seeking direct access to the Internet for SaaS and Cloud Services for enterprise-class security and robust connectivity into one software platform.

What does a modern adaptive, cloud-oriented network look like? The most important aspects of this approach to SD-WAN include the following, according to Raynovich:

  • The capability to recognize and optimize WAN connections to applications including those based in the cloud
  • Native security built into the network
  • Automated software-based provisioning of remote location and brand office nodes

“Recently I was able to do a deeper dive into the technology with Versa Networks while working on a new report Networking the Secure IP Cloud – Trends Driving the Cloud.  Versa’s technology is enabled by the Secure Cloud IP architecture – a cloud-native multi-service, multi-tenant software platform that delivers elastic scale, segmentation, programmability and automation.”

Raynovich says the future needs high-powered network functionality plugged in at the edge of the network, using SD-WAN customer premises equipment (CPE) and powerful software.

“A secure Cloud IP architecture should integrate cloud networking, SD-WAN, wireless and mobile connectivity, WAN optimization, transport line conditioning and software-defined security services in a VNF software stack that displaces multiple branch-office hardware devices,” Raynovich said. “In order to bake security into the network, it’s crucial that the SD-WAN branch have high levels of security functionality. Ideally a comprehensive suite of security features directly into the SD-WAN fabric.”

Raynovich listed features including the following:

  • Next-generation firewall
  • Integrated intrusion Detection System (IDS) and Prevention (IPS), Anti-ransomware and Anti-virus
  • Applications policy control
  • Layer 3 protection – ARP, IP ICMP protocol defense, IP spoofing, source-routing checks, Fragment overlaps
  • DoS protection
  • End-to-end encryption for every connection, including across regions and enterprise sites, and within and between any public clouds.
  • Platform for services at the gateway with unprecedented context visibility

“You can see where this is going,” Raynovich said. “The network of the past is filled with many different kinds of software and appliances – all delivering specific features of the network, including security. Security should be native to the network, delivered in a single SD-WAN platform, rather than requiring complex service-chaining third-party arrangements or exotic appliances.”

Futuriom research indicates there is high demand and growth in the SD-WAN market, because enterprises are looking for a more software-based approach to solving their challenges to cloud networking, including streamlining and securing bandwidth. Futuriom projects that SD-WAN infrastructure and software will hit $2 billion in revenue by 2021. IDC (News - Alert) has estimated it could be worth as much as $8 billion by 2021.

The range of estimates is interesting in that it begs the question of how we define SD-WAN services and related services.

“As SD-WAN evolves, it becomes a platform for collapsing all networking functionality into an integrated software stack that is deployed on affordable open hardware at the network edge,” Raynovich said. “The benefit for the end-user will be a broad range of choices of software functionality – with a simplified approach to hardware. Almost all these services are delivered on cheaper, easier-to-manage COTS or bare-metal hardware, and centrally programmed with software.”

Curious to learn more about SD-WAN? SD-WAN Expo 2019 will be here before you know it to introduce attendees to the market leaders, what lies ahead and most importantly, what this up-and-coming technology can offer.

Already an SD-WAN expert? Interested in speaking at SD-WAN Expo 2019? Shoot an email to [email protected]

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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