As the number of software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) deployments is expected to increase dramatically in the next 12 months, monitoring the performance of those technologies will be crucial. However, it won’t be crucial enough to carve out its own market, said Current Analysis Analyst Mike Fratto.
In fact, many SD-WAN vendors already offer some sort of monitoring capabilities in the product itself, or it is integrated with another vendor’s monitoring system.
But there are some vendors that offer deeper analytics between clients and servers like pure-play application performance monitoring (APM) and network performance monitoring (NPM) companies. For example, SevOne offers its service assurance capabilities to Versa and Viptela.
“A lot of people who talk about SD-WAN monitoring only tend to monitor the AP [access point] or the controller, but it’s important to recognize that the entire solution needs to have a lot more insight,” said Jim Melvin, chief marketing officer at SevOne.
Embedded SD-WAN systems will typically include insight into the performance of the underlying infrastructure as well as latency, CPU, and memory. However, integrated performance monitoring systems are able to export data from the SD-WAN controller to their monitoring systems to provide more actionable charts with information about deeper transactions and application performance.
“For companies that really want to optimize application performance and make decisions about where to place applications, that is where deeper analytics will provide a lot more actionable decisions,” Fratto said. “My recommendation is if you have very basic monitoring, use what’s built-in first and see if it’ll provide the detail you need, and if not, move into an analytics package from one of the APM vendors.”
Many SD-WAN vendors have made claims about the technology increasing performance and they want to prove that it’s true. Much of what SD-WAN does includes inspecting traffic and performance data from branch office locations and in WAN links — so there’s not a lot to prove, Fratto said.
“I don’t see [SD-WAN monitoring] as an independent market segment,” Fratto said. “It will either be a function of the SD-WAN product itself or a product of a larger APM and NPM company.”
However, if an organization is spread out with multiple locations, the chances are that it will want to have an integrated SD-WAN monitoring system. If a company has fewer offices where the applications themselves are more distributed, it will most likely benefit from a broader APM system, Fratto explained.