Major Take-Aways from the SD-WAN Services for the Post-COVID Future Webinar
Recently, I truly enjoyed hosting Scott Raynovich from Futuriom in our webinar (SD-WAN Services for the Post-COVID Future). Scott presented the market trends that he established after interviewing over 120 network infrastructure decision makers. His survey shed a spotlight on a several very interesting market trends, which I’ll summarize in this blog, but of course I’d encourage you to watch the webinar.
Naturally I read a lot and study a lot while locked up alone at home these days, and one thing that is very pervasive in IT in general is this: it doesn’t matter which area you look at, undoubtedly the key two forces shaping the technology market are abstraction (aka simplification) and visibility. They are the key to architectural elegance and business agility. The proliferation of new tools and features can (many say already has) lead to a nightmarishly complex environment where IT Operations simply is trapped in a world of configuring and troubleshooting, and the latter suffers from lack of visibility across aforementioned features and tools. Clearly, no IT department -including the networking team- wants to live in a world of perpetual firefighting and troubleshooting while falling behind on strategic business initiatives.
My interpretation of pretty much every stat Scott showed boiled down to the two combined forces of simplification and visualization, but never worry, he was far more eloquent and also attributed changes to other adjacent market forces that, again, I encourage you to listen to.
I think everybody that listens to the webinar will have different takeaways based on what their specific interests and/or business priorities are. Here are my key takeaways:
- Scott stated that he sees a growing preference in the American market for SD-WAN as a managed service. He also stated that preference has long been established in the European and Asian markets. And I agree completely. And it’s not at all because by working for Aryaka I have developed a sinister NaaS agenda of world domination (long evil laughter edited out). Rather, it’s because (a) it makes perfect sense to deploy the network as a managed service in a world eager to overcome architectural complexity and (b) because having lived in Europe and worked there for a while, it’s a bit of a “duh” effect… an IT architect must simply deliver on the needs of the business, and that scales much better when tedious configuration and operation and troubleshooting tasks are outsourced or offered in a virtual, abstracted self-service manner. So no, it is no surprise the as-a-Service approach is the fastest growing category in the SD-WAN market.
- Security and SD-WAN are quickly becoming synonymous. Scott’s survey showed that security is a key consideration as enterprises roll out SD-WAN. What that means is that they are overhauling both the WAN and the network security architecture to cater to an increasingly cloud-centric enterprise architecture model. The application world has long made that transition, networking and network security have lagged, leading to application performance issues, sub-optimal cost as well as sub-optimal approaches to securing emerging digital enterprise architectures.
- SASE, the Secure Access Service Edge. This is clearly part of point  above but deserves to be broken out into its own sub-bullet. Let’s make it clear: SASE is not a matter of whether you are for or against it. It didn’t open a new innovative category; the trend had been in flow all along. Like Scott and I discussed, it’s just a matter on how to deliver on a more elegantly integrated set of advanced network and security capabilities that cater to the needs of the emerging cloud-first enterprise. While, of course, making those easier to optimally configure, manage and visualize. Scott mentioned that he did not think SASE was really a new category when the market started to talk about, and I can’t agree more. SASE puts a label on something that was clearly already in flow. So, while some out there already claim SASE leadership, it’s important to establish that no company delivers on all SASE vision elements yet. Also, we shall learn lessons as we move towards that goal of a seamlessly orchestrated, cloud-first network and full-security stack. The architectural model will evolve as we learn those lessons collectively as an industry.
- My personal, most important takeaway was that I felt very privileged to be able to have fun as I collaborated with Scott on this webinar in a time of upheaval. Yes, our Internet connections worked fine (although I did experience some video artifacts despite having 100Mbps Internet in my place) and allowed us to be productive. But, unlike so many others… we were able to afford the luxury of focusing our minds on technology trends rather than existential and survival ones. I truly hope everybody, everywhere, reading this is safe and healthy and that so are their close ones. I hope in just a few weeks we come all together again, with this behind us and with a fierce determination to leverage the collective success of our fast-growing technology segment into helping rebuild our extended communities, acknowledging how lucky we have been to be sheltered from the worst of this crippling crisis – thus far. Scott and I shared this sentiment prior to the recorded part of the webinar, so I wanted to mention that. Pardon me if it got a bit sappy, but it was important to me.
The webinar is educational and focused on trends in the SD-WAN industry, I avoided product pitches (you can thank Scott for that, he urged me to keep it that way). I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed the worry-free moment of participating in it.