Since the emergence of cloud technologies, enterprises have migrated their applications and data to the cloud. Many of the cloud-related buzzwords, such as SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), and PaaS (Platform as a Service), have been adopted by global enterprises as the solution to improve competitiveness and QoS (quality of service). In fact, the business world has already entered the multi-cloud generation, in which many enterprises operate more than one cloud platforms, like an assortment of public cloud, private cloud, SaaS and PaaS.

Therefore, enterprise IT management has adopted SD-WAN to accommodate the increasing use of multi-cloud platforms. SD-WAN offers end-to-end security and reliable connectivity and bandwidth between branches and data centers. IT staff can define how to run the applications, rout the traffic and set VNFs (virtual network functions) through software measures. In other words, SD-WAN functions as a virtual single interface to centralize the management of all the distributed networks. As a result, SD-WAN is also the optimal architecture to run multi-cloud platforms.

SD-WAN Fits Multi-Cloud

When cloud was first introduced, enterprises invested dedicated hardware and software to expand their WAN architecture, built with proprietary ASIC (Application-specific integrated circuit). However, conventional WAN was inadequate to accommodate the expanding multi-cloud environment. When implementing multiple cloud platforms on the traditional WAN, there have been issues arise, such as lost packet, poor branch connectivity, latency in routing, complicated maintenance, and most importantly, piling costs.

Therefore, many enterprises have turned to SD-WAN to cope with their assorted cloud platforms of SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS. With SD-WAN, traffic can be routed through the optimal channels so that load balancing can be executed by a single virtualized interface on top of networking hardware. Latency and jitter can be minimized through software microsegmentation, offering the end-to-end visibility and encryption.

Apparently, cloud platforms like SaaS and IaaS are frequently the targets for hackers, and SD-WAN offers the comprehensive security for multi-cloud architecture. Under the software-defined, virtualized architecture, SD-WAN provides end-to-end security and integrated firewall to ensure that data is protected along the channel from a cloud to another.

On the other hand, leading SD-WAN vendors nowadays have forged partnerships with major cloud service providers, for instance, Amazon Web Service, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, to establish system interoperability and compatibility. In fact, SD-WAN solutions nowadays can identify and rout the traffics generated from by mainstream SaaS, IaaS and PaaS platforms. Security policies are thus made easier for IT management due to wide compatibility.

Future Implications

With the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and end-to-end nature, SD-WAN is one of the most widely deployed applications among all the SDN (software-defined networks) applications. Market analysts anticipate that SD-WAN deployments will continue on the rise, with a market value of over US$ 4 billion by 2022. This forecast implies that the more enterprises rely on clouds, the larger the market for SD-WAN.