Introducing “Software Defined WAN for the Digital Age – A Bold Transition to Next Generation Networking”

November 7th, 2018 by · Leave a Comment

This Industry Viewpoint was authored by David W Wang

Recently I’ve received quite some inquiries from readers of my Telecom Ramblings’ blog, showing interest in my new book “Software Defined WAN for the Digital Age- A Bold Transition to Next Generation Networking, which is being officially published and distributed, starting from this week of November, in the global markets via major portals such as Amazon Books and Google Books.

Here I am very glad to share the Introduction part of this book which provides a good idea on how it can facilitate a better understanding of the exciting new wave of network solutions and digital transformation that we are facing now.

Introduction      SD-WAN—A Game Changer for Network Solutions

When Cloud Computing as a solution and service debuting about 7 or 8 years ago, I was amazed by its core technologies such as virtualization, VM abstraction, and centralized software control, as well as the disruptive impact and changes that Cloud has brought about to the industry and market. (For more details, please refer to my book Cash in on Cloud Computing published in March 2015.)

One puzzle, however, is that as a seasoned telecommunication and network professional, I see cloud computing is tilted more towards a revolution for either on premise or data center-based enterprise IT operations, which have become more agile, responsive, and cost effective. Yet the traditional wide area network (WAN) model based on dedicated connection and proprietary hardware has mostly remained costly and inefficient.

What changes can be made to the networking sector? What innovations can make WAN, which plays a vital integrated part of the cloud ecosystem, more cost effective, performance robust, provisioning efficient, and operation intelligent?
This is what this new book of mine cares about, and Software Defined (SD) WAN is the answer. (Note: The assumption is that readers of this book already possess some basic knowledge about data networking, WAN telecommunications, IT operations, and cloud computing.)

Fundamentally for the enterprise market over the past 15 years or so, distributed broadband network services primarily include the private IP Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), and public broadband Internet. Both have pros and cons. For instance, while MPLS is reliable, guaranteed in class of services, and secured, it is quite costly, slow in upgrading or adding new sites.

Also, traditional WAN like MPLS is not designed for directly connecting an enterprise office to the cloud powered applications such as Office 365 or or cloud hosted Unified Communications. The public Internet, on the other hand, while can offset many cons of the MPLS, is less manageable in terms of quality, reliability, and security.

Nowadays major business applications from cloud, mobile, big data, and Internet of things traffic put increased strain on the legacy WAN infrastructure and call for a new WAN. Apparently, it would be great to have a next-gen type of WAN solution that absorbs the pros from both MPLS and public Internet while minimize their cons.

This is exactly why SD-WAN has come into play. Conceptually, one can simply deem SD-WAN as an optimized combination of MPLS and public Internet in characteristics and features. Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV) are at the core technologies of SD-WAN, which enable SD-WAN to become more intelligent and cost saving than ever before in its operation and performance.

SD-WAN is an advanced networking approach that creates hybrid networks to integrate broadband or other network services into the corporate WAN, not only just handling general business workloads and traffic, but also being capable of maintaining the performance and security of real-time and sensitive applications.

No wonder SD-WAN is quickly catching the industry and market’s attention and massive implementations are already underway from both enterprises and services providers. A 2016 survey of enterprise communications professionals found that 30% of respondents plan to migrate to SD-WAN within 1 to 2 years. (source: Network World from IDG, Aug 1, 2017)

Based on some recent research by Cisco Systems, SD-WAN will account for 25% of IP WAN traffic by 2021, up from 6% in 2016. Traditional WAN traffic growth will slow down to like 5% and gradually to a halt. (source: Cisco Visual Networking Index™ (VNI) Complete Forecast released on June 8, 2017.)

According to IDC’s Worldwide SD-WAN Forecast, over the next 5 years, 2017–2021, SD-WAN sales will grow at a 69% compound annual growth rate, hitting $8.05 billion in 2021. (source: IDC Worldwide SD-WAN Forecast, 2017–2021 released on July 27. 2017)

While traditional router vendors, such as Cisco and Juniper and established WAN optimization vendors such as Riverbed Technology, Silver Peak, Aryaka, and Citrix will all play in the new SD-WAN market, the so called “pure Play” SD-WAN startups such as VeloCloud (now bought over by VMware), Viptela (now acquired by Cisco), CloudGenix, Versa, and Talari are taking a lot of limelight on the brand new platform.

These vendors are teaming up with major communication service providers (CSPs) and cloud providers like AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, BT, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, NTT, China Telecom Global, etc. in rolling out SD-WAN domestically and globally.

Hence the technology, solution, market, business drivers, and key players for SD-WAN are all here. The challenges become how the enterprise can effectively adopt SD-WAN so as to “pay less to do more” in WAN networking, meanwhile how the CSPs can quickly take SD-WAN to market as a niche of their service portfolio, realizing new revenue streams, growing market shares, and improving customer satisfaction. In a nutshell, how can we cash in on SD-WAN in this digital new era and transcend the WAN market to the next level?

This book tries to address these challenges and let’s kick off the exciting tour. The book processes three chapters covering SD-WAN from the perspectives of technology evolution, enterprise adoption, and service provider portfolio & Go to Market. With quite some fresh use cases and insightful dialogues included, the book tends to provide the readers with some easy-to-follow and inspiring insights on the next-gen network solutions and services.

David W Wang is a telecom/IT business development principal and senior consultant with ITCom Global, LLC based in Washington DC metro. Mr. Wang is also the author of the brand new book “Software Defined-WAN for the Digital Age” , and the 2015 publishing “Cash In On Cloud Computing”, and he can be contacted at

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Categories: Industry Viewpoint · SDN

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