Upcoming Trends in the SD-WAN, SASE and Multi-Cloud Space

The Convergence of SD-WAN and SASE

Over the last few years, enterprise Wide Area Networks (WANs) have focused on cloud-centric networks within their digital transformation initiatives to overcome new business requirements like work-from-anywhere models fast-tracked by COVID 19. What we’re seeing from these cloud investments is a unified model for digital transformation initiatives converging network and security functions.

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology was first introduced in 2014, a next-generation technology capable of controlling enterprise network connectivity, management, and services across wide-area networks — increasing performance while lowering costs. But SD-WAN solutions often lack security functions, leaving many enterprises who implemented SD-WAN to maintain pre-existing security infrastructure.

In 2019 this gap in securing enterprise networks was answered through a new architecture called Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). This is a technology derived from the same core values of SD-WAN but applied to a hybrid network or security model, enabling enterprises to adopt work-from-anywhere models with zero trust. However, SASE is not a complete solution and requires networking technologies like SD-WAN to ensure the entire enterprise network from physical premises to the cloud is reached.

The convergence between network and security functions evident by SD-WAN and SASE is intriguing. Although SASE product offerings on the market are often all-inclusive bundles, many enterprises are not yet ready to make a total switch-over, despite being interested in some of the benefits. Some clients still desire separate networks and security architecture while others want SD-WAN without security, or new firewalls with the same network topology.

Potential Repercussions in the IT industry

Coevolve was founded in 2014, and it wasn’t long after that we became a leading provider of next-generation WAN services. Since being founded Coevolve has embraced disruptive technology like SD-WAN and SASE. Hence, the convergence between these two technologies is quite significant to our solutions.

From our expertise in the industry, when new technology or approaches emerge, we see high adoption rates from enterprises requiring such capabilities and ‘innovators’ while more modest enterprises require more information, use cases, and facts. Regardless of when enterprises accept the convergence between network and security, it’s the new networking norm. Within the next few years, it’s expected that nearly all enterprises will incorporate to an extent both SD-WAN and SASE as legacy network infrastructure becomes outdated and too costly to maintain. Additionally, the shift to next-generation technology will be further simplified, as providers continue to fine-tune their offerings to reflect current demands and trends of the market making the shift more approachable.

The convergence between network and security creates new uncharted waters, leading to enterprises looking beyond big vendors to niche solution providers, like Coevolve who specialize in co-managed solutions enabling enterprises full network transparency while delivering premium services with added value. The demand for co-managed solutions has also been grown by big vendors exploiting transparency and costs.

The Impact of 5G, AI, and automation on SD-WAN and SASE

A big component of the network life cycle is optimization, enterprises are continually looking to identify new ways to optimize their network environment performance and lower cost. Providers are starting to engage with 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to further enhance their offerings, incorporating 5G to further expand on SD-WAN’s capabilities and AI to support the mass influx of metadata from contemporary network architectures. Although it’s uncertain when these technology enhancements will be in offerings, it only takes one provider to bring it to market for the domino effect to occur. So, the real question is — who will offer it first?

At Coevolve, we continuously strive to offer our clients innovative solutions. So we were very proud to announce the launch of our Smart Services earlier this year, leveraging powerful automation to produce new network monitoring and management capabilities. Coevolve Smart Services dips into how automation can be used within the networking industry, in time we hope to expand on our Smart Services further.

The Future of SASE and SD-WAN

In many ways, COVID 19 was a catalyst for work-from-anywhere models. Even the most office-based enterprises found ways to support the demand. Whether enterprises were adding to or implementing new network architecture, SD-WAN was the forefront choice to expand the number of locations with light edge appliances with the addition of SASE to secure the network edge.

There’s potentially more to come from SD-WAN as well, as the software-defined principles it’s based on are applied to other components of IT infrastructure. For example, we’ve seen a steady increase in the SD-Branch architecture, which applies orchestration, centralized profiles and end to end visibility to other components of the branch infrastructure, including LAN and wireless. The operational efficiencies that can come from this model mean we are likely to see more of this approach in the coming years.

Considering SASE is new to the industry, we expect vendors to significantly work on their offerings, generating new ways of adoption, increased capabilities, and performance. Foreshadowing how SASE will remain in the spotlight for the years to come. Additionally, we expect to see SASE adoption rates plateau, as many enterprises quickly adopted SASE overlooking optimization and associated costs to ensure the business operations remained viable in light of the pandemic. Thus, we will see a shift in enterprise focus from SASE adoption to optimization — increasing performance and cost savings.