SD-WAN Market Adjusting to New Technologies, Panel Says

February 20, 2020

By Bill Yates, Communications Correspondent

How is the SD-WAN market accommodating the changing marketplace for IT services? In the kickoff session, “State of SD-WAN -- A View from the C-Suite,” five veteran technology veterans discussed the current state of the market for SD-WAN services.

The discussion was featured at the SD-WAN Expo in Fort Lauderdale, FL, on Feb. 12, part of the IT Expo at the annual Tech Supershow.

Panelist Bernard Breton, chief executive officer at Adaptiv Networks (News - Alert), noted that cloud-first IT planning is “shaping the future of IT networks.” To be successful, SD-WAN networks need to adapt to the cloud, he says.

“Traditional companies need to rethink the way they do business,” says John Trainor, chief information officer at Aaron's, which employs an network that serves 1,600 retail stores. He says IT directors need to adopt “nimble technologies” to survive.

Networks need to encompass new approaches to business, such as ordering kiosks. “People are engaging digitally first,” says Eric Amstuz, director of US select sales at Cloudgenix (News - Alert). “If you don’t do digital, you’ll be eaten alive by those that do.”

Ashwath Nagaraj, co-founder and chief technology officer at Aryaka (News - Alert) Networks, says the internet connection is the weakest link in any SD-WAN network. Securing your internet is the place to begin when deploying SD-WAN. “It’s not the biggest part, but it is the most important place to start.”

The sessions was run by Moe Nagle (Moderator), managing editor at TMC (News - Alert) and chairman of the SD-WAN track. Nagle asked the panel how 5G technology will impact the SD-WAN world.

Rajat Gopal, senior director of product management at Oracle (News - Alert), says SD-WAN networks will be crucial to serve the increased need for backhaul, which he says will expand exponentially with the introduction of 5G technology. “It’s a fundamental change,” he says.

The time it takes to transfer to SD-WAN will be reduced by deploying a 5G network, Nagaraj says. But there are doubts that 5G will be a boost to SD-WAN deployment.

“I’m not drinking the 5G Kool Aid for now,” Breton says. He says the last-mile difficulties of implanting 5G could defeat the gains in speed and reduction of latency. “The complexity of doing the programming completely defeats the attempt at efficiency,” he says.

The panel also discussed the future of data analytics in SD-WAN networks. “When you have more data, you can make better decisions,” Amstuz says. He cited the example of Tesla, which has eight cameras that gather data about your trip. The more you know about your customer, the better off you are, he says.

Nagara agreed. He says companies can leverage the information they gain from one network (or one electric vehicle) and apply it to other similar networks, using AI. “Only if you automate your network can you truly lower your costs,” he says.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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