Top 2020 SD-WAN Predictions

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We've seen many transformative changes in the market over the past few years. In 2019, for example, we witnessed router-centric and basic SD-WAN offerings beginning to fall short of expectations as enterprises began shifting toward a business-first networking model. We also saw an emphasis on cloud security, along with a bond forming between SD-WAN and UCaaS. We began to see a new set of emerging requirements for multi-cloud deployments, and the promise of 5G beginning to materialize.

So, what's in store for 2020? This is sure to mark another year of continued WAN transformation and a year in which enterprises can begin to realize a multiplier effect from their cloud investments. As the market continues to gain momentum, here are my annual predictions for SD-WAN and the future of the WAN edge infrastructure market.

1. Expanding Enterprise Cloud Adoption Drives Shift to Cloud delivered Security

Traditional WAN architectures have relied on backhauling cloud-destined traffic through on-premise perimeter firewalls. These architectures will become obsolete as the majority of traffic flows from branch sites to the cloud rather than the data center. Advanced security functions (including CASB and ZTNA) will be implemented in the cloud and in some cases, at end points, rather than in traditional NGFWs deployed on the perimeter. Going forward, the WAN edge will become a critical policy enforcement and integration point, offering forward-thinking enterprises the freedom of choice to select and adopt best-of-breed security technologies that bring the agility to keep pace with security technology advancements.

2. Enhanced SD-WAN Integration with Cloud Giants

As more enterprises use multiple cloud providers, SD-WAN is providing a uniform fabric across physical locations and multi-cloud instances. In 2020, the cloud giants, Amazon, Microsoft and Google will continue to roll out a variety of features and APIs that advanced SDWAN solutions can leverage to enhance their functionality. Automation will make adding new cloud instances easy and fast, despite the inherent complexities and idiosyncrasies of each underlying cloud environment. By utilizing multiple paths between physical locations and each cloud instance, an advanced SD-WAN platform will deliver a more reliable and consistent user experience.

3. SD-WAN Deployments Expand Beyond the Traditional Branch to Ships, Trains and Backpacks

When people think of SD-WAN, they typically think of networking together branch offices, retail stores or factories and warehouses. And, we often think of the benefits of SD-WAN in terms of employee productivity gains. However, there are a number of emerging use cases where the SD-WAN edge is being deployed beyond the traditional branch to ships, trains, emergency vehicles or even first-responder backpacks. Whether it’s digital transformation or IoT, there will be an array of business initiatives that will require high-quality, always-on cloud connectivity. This will drive growing awareness of the importance of reliable and high-performance machine-to-machine communications, in parallel with consistent human user-experience. In 2020, this trend will drive WAN transformation beyond the traditional branch into every facet of the new digital enterprise.

David Hughes’ annual SD-WAN predictions are what inform our understanding of what’s really happening this year. To learn more, download our full eBook, Top 10 SD-WAN Edge Trends.

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