SD-WAN has revolutionized legacy WAN architecture in a dramatic pace, and like all the widespread technologies, there are always phenomenal reasons behind. SD-WAN adoption is anticipated to reach over $80 billions market by 2021, and there are factors that drive this growth.

CSPs Taking the Opportunity

Communication service providers (CSPs) are encountered with the unprecedented use of cloud-based enterprise SaaS (Software as a Service)/PaaS (Platform as a Service) applications, causing complexity in the management of traffic flows and compromises in bandwidth and performance. Thus, CSPs have to make changes toward existing legacy WAN architectures.

The emergence of SD-WAN presents a revenue opportunity. Software-defined WAN can be deployed on existing WAN hardware and abstracts the networking devices to offer visibility and simplify network management. SD-WAN saves the complexity in the maintenance of legacy WAN that had resulted in substantial expenses and lack of scalability and flexibility. Meanwhile, with end-to-end visibility, performance and troubleshooting can be both optimized as well.

In short, SD-WAN offers CSPs a business opportunity to penetrate the market with managed service package, since they are already managing networks for their customers. Major CSPs today deliver managed SD-WAN including security, resilience, hybridization and traffic optimization in one package. On the other hand, there is a trend of outsourcing the WAN services and this type of networking business is made easier with SD-WAN.

Regardless of the models of SD-WAN, CSPs are going to be a major adopter of software-defined solutions.

Intend-based Networking

Most of the network management today still set their routing policies manually, even in SD-WAN architecture. To realize automated network management, the concept of intent-based networking has emerged to change the way how data and traffic are routed.

Like SD-WAN, intent-based networking offers an abstraction layer so that the administrator can implement policy and instruction across all the physical hardware across all the WAN protocols, no more manual configuration. On the contrary, IBN is more oriented to the translation and implementation, which are essential elements for automated networking. The business intents can be described and input in plain, ordinary language, and then translated into policy or instruction. Once the network is implemented with the business intents, it will generate automated responses. In other words, all the policies can be configured automatically.

The characteristics of translation, automation and implementation make intent-based networking easily deployable across different platforms, and because of intent-based networking, SD-WAN will be even more widely deployed in the coming future.

Security, Always Security

The end-to-end visibility of SD-WAN allows IT management to monitor and set unified control all the network protocols across their hardware infrastructure. In other words, security in both cloud and edge is made easier. Recently, major cyber-security leaders have announced to converge SD-WAN into their systems, which means, SD-WAN will be more available than ever.

Convergence with NPMD

It is easily observed that SD-WAN adoptions will continue to rise rapidly, at least till 2022. This indicates there is a great number of network infrastructure transitions from legacy MPLS model to the software-defined, virtualized architecture. However, transitions may come with risks.

Therefore, to visualize the SD-WAN condition status, network performance management and diagnose (NPMD) tools will be converged with SD-WAN to view the entire topology and measure application performance. In other words, it is predicted that more and more convergence of SD-WAN and NPMD will be observed.