Managed SD-WAN Services and Platforms - Rapid Adoption Driving Demand
The Rise of SD-WAN and Managed Services
By guest bloggers, Rohit Mehra and Brandon Butler of IDC
Rapid adoption of Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) technology over the past two years has been driven by organizations embracing Digital and Network Transformation seeking operational simplicity of their WAN deployments and a desire to enable new network and security services. These are trends that show no signs of slowing down in the coming years and more companies are building relationships to support SD-WAN Services. IDC estimates the SD-WAN Infrastructure market will grow from an $832 million market in 2017 to a $4.5 billion market by 2022 (see chart below). Meanwhile, managed services related to SD-WAN are expected to be a $5.4 billion market by 2022, growing at a 77.2% compound annual growth rate in the next 5 years.
While organizations have many choices in how to consume SD-WAN – including using a do-it-yourself approach, working with their existing technology provider or Managed Service Provider– managed offerings from Communication Service Providers (communication service providers) are expected to continue to be the leading deployment method for enterprises. Working with a communication service provider gives organizations an SD-WAN service that integrates with their existing connectivity (e.g. MPLS) and provides flexibility in how the SD-WAN is deployed – be it on premises, at the service provider edge, or hosted in the cloud.
SD-WAN Infrastructure Market Forecast
Challenges with SD-WAN Services
Despite the significant opportunity, offering SD-WAN services is still a substantial challenge for communication service providers to operationalize. Too often communication service providers rely on manual configuration and deployment of their WAN offerings, often using archaic orchestration tools. As new customers request the service it is too often manually provisioned and operationalized. This ad-hoc management of SD-WAN services is not only inefficient for scaling the service to customers, but it creates security liabilities both for the communication service provider and end user customers. communication service providers also face challenges integrating SD-WAN services with existing OSS/BSS platforms, as well as other Value-Added Services (VAS).
Automated Service Provisioning and VNFs Over SD-WAN
These challenges have created a need for a platform that helps communication service providers automate the deployment, management and integration of SD-WAN to customers from day one of offering the service. Automated service provisioning allows communication service providers to have secure, templated services that are tested and assured. One key to a successful platform is that it integrates with not only the communication service provider's network and operations, but also that it can enable additional virtualized network functions (VNFs) over the SD-WAN service. VNFs, enabled by Network Function Virtualization (NFV), have become a popular new way to dynamically deliver virtualized versions of key network and security services, such as next-generation firewalls, unified threat management, or network performance analytics. SD-WAN service enablement packages should be designed from the ground up to easily integrate with communication service providers existing OSS/BSS and provide multi-domain, multi-vendor support for SD-WAN services and a wide variety of VNFs. They can include pre-built integrations with SD-WAN software technology and best of breed security services.
One key to a SD-WAN service delivery platform is their ability to not only serve the needs of customers today, but also be agile enough to support future use cases as well. An SD-WAN service delivery platform allows communication service providers to completely automate the rollout of SD-WAN services to new or existing customers and give them choice in how it is managed: either on their premises, as virtual instances, or from the public cloud. Orchestration platforms that are built using standard, open APIs allow communication service providers to facilitate the delivery and service chaining of a wide variety of VNFs to customers- while retaining the ability to add support for new VNFs that will continue to be developed in the future. Organizations that embrace these service delivery platforms from the beginning of their process of planning an SD-WAN service offering will gain the most benefit. Then, additional VASs, third party applications and VNFs can be added atop the flexible platform.
Amdocs, a leader in communication service provider automation software, has developed a new SD-WAN offer that includes automated provisioning of SD-WAN services as well as NFV Orchestration management. Amdocs has built pre-integrations with Versa Networks' SD-WAN technology and Fortinet's security services, allowing communication service providers to automate deployment of SD-WAN functionality and enable VNFs at customers' premises.
The benefits of SD-WAN are multi-fold. SD-WAN allows end users to automate multiple WAN connections, centrally manage connections to a large number of branch sites and be able to guarantee quality levels of service on a per application or per user basis. As adoption rates for SD-WAN continue to grow, communication service providers are in a position to capture new business from existing and new clients. Doing so requires they have an automated platform for delivering SD-WAN and VNF services to end user customers. A platform that meets all their needs for today and can adapt to future architectures should be a key consideration.
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