The Rayno Report held another one of our social events on CrowdChat, LinkedIn, and Twitter on March 24. The topic was #sdwan, or Software-defined WAN (SD WAN). The event covered the emergence of the SD WAN technology, or Cloud WAN as I like to call it, which seeks to simplify WAN services by moving them to the cloud.
The emergence of the SD WAN, highlighted in our “Future of Cloud WAN” report (subscription required), is driving the need for virtualized Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and Web provisioning of enterprise WAN services. This means that just about any enterprise WAN service requiring a specialized hardware appliance could be moved into the cloud as a software service.
Steve Woo, VP of products and co-founder of VeloCloud, the sponsor of the chat, said that SD WAN has the potential to make Internet connections safe for business applications. “#SDN should steer apps around link issues, and #cloudWAN provides the redundancy of the Internet,” wrote Woo, piping in through his LinkedIn handle. “Traditional WAN connectivity fails to leverage Internet/broadband and adapt to the migration to the cloud.”
The SD WAN movement is being spawned by architectural shifts in networks. As more and more applications are accessed through the cloud, it’s making less sense to host them on enterprise networks, pushing WAN services themselves live in the cloud. And this move is also welcomed by IT managers, who would like to spend less time managing complicated equipment configurations and , when they could just provision a new WAN service through a Web browser.
In the end, as with most things, it comes down to money. Cloud WAN has to the potential to generate new savings and operational efficiencies.
“Money, saving it and making it,” responded Twitter participant @danablouin, when I asked what were the top drivers of moving the WAN to the cloud.
” … the sheer need to change networks faster (without proportional risk) has been sorely lacking, ask any IT project manager :-)” tweeted Anthony Cochenour, (@ajcochenour), President of Hoplite Industries and a regular on our social chats.
“Agility and flexibility are key objectives from enterprise IT and their business unit clients,” said Woo.
Rayno Report research shows that the main drivers of Cloud WAN are the Return on Investment (ROI) including potential savings in areas such as management, hardware costs, maintenance, and energy. This has the potential to create a market of $7.5B in new Cloud WAN services over the next five years.
When I asked which WAN services could be virtualized in the cloud, the audience said that could include anything, ranging from security to DNS services.
“Anything truly core to enterprise ops will end up there, routing, redundancy mechanisms, address allocation, DNS, and policy enforcement (QoS, security and the like) come to mind,” said Cochenour, a veteran executive in enterprise technology.
Application performance and WAN optimization is another area ripe for Cloud WAN advancement, as pointed out by VeloCloud.
“Based on business priority of App #SDWAN can offer visibility and both inbound/outbound QoS for SaaS Apps,” said Parag Thakore, Director Product Management of VeloCloud.
The #SDWAN CrowdChat got wide exposure on Twitter, with a total Twitter reach of 739,120 timeline impressions and 102 messages. The transcript page, which can be viewed here, has 613 total views so far. Check it out.