Trends in the Transformation of the Network Edge

The Network Edge—at the branch, in the cloud, in the data center, mobile IoT—is being transformed with unprecedented and ubiquitous compute power, autonomous decision making, data gathering, sensor data generation and control. The very network fabric is becoming a source of intelligence.

SD-WAN as a Platform
There is an increasing need for network services, such as security and data processing at the branch office. An increasing amount of compute power is required. At the same time organizations seek to reduce the number of devices that they must manage. SD-WAN can become an integral platform for delivering services at remote locations. With its processing power and virtualization capability, any type of services for the branch office can be deployed using SD-WAN. Integration with the SD-WAN management system can be used to provide policy control and metrics for performance management.

Edge Computing and IoT
There is a lot of data being generated at the network edge. A branch office is no longer just an office—it contains many devices such as point of sale (POS) systems and IoT devices that generate and report data. Some have AI capabilities that require data processing. Transmitting this raw data back to the data center for processing is both time consuming and bandwidth consuming. With edge computing, processing can be done locally and only the actionable data is transmitted. With local compute power and a service hosting capability, SD-WAN can provide the required processing power.

Hybrid Cloud
As applications have become more modular and as organizations have embraced the cloud, workloads have become distributed in a hybrid cloud model where they can span multiple locations. Yesterday’s data center has evolved into a private cloud what is connected to public clouds—such as AWS, Azure, and Google, and workloads are increasingly distributed throughout this multi-cloud environment. This model provides for elastic data center capacity for dynamic workloads, and access to specific services delivered by the cloud providers such as big data analytics systems, while also ensuring security and integrity for applications components that must remain in the corporate data center. SD-WAN can optimize performance in this model and provide for the agile rollout of new enterprise services.
Traditional transport mechanisms—broadband, MPLS—can be slow to provision and lacked intelligence. Wireless has traditionally be available as a low bandwidth option. But then came 5G, and with it an option for high bandwidth that is fast to provision. SD-WAN together with 5G brings intelligence from the transport layer to enable control using business policies. Previously, SD-WAN offered transport independence and control for land lines. Now it offers transport control for the broadband wireless network. With SD-WAN and 5G the transport layer offers status information, providing for unprecedented network self-management and self-healing. This combination is perfect for locations requiring fast provisioning of high bandwidth with a high level of control.

Gateway Federation
Global corporations have work forces and data centers around the world. Applications are distributed across these locations. Workloads have become mobile. Workflow follows the sun. Not all locations can be served by the same network. Corporations must work with multiple network providers and may also use internet connectivity. These data center and locations need to be connected. Performance and availability needs to be ensured. This requires agility and flexibility in the network that can be remedied by SD-WAN, which can make connections across the globe. But interconnection requires federation that can be achieved with SD-WAN gateways that can be federated into a global virtual network that can connect disparate telco and enterprise networks as well as the cloud.

As organizations embrace the cloud, they are finding that one cloud does not serve all their needs. As a result, they are developing a multi-cloud strategy that can provide a combination of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS as well as access to unique services that each cloud might offer. Multi-cloud also avoids dependence on a single provider, mitigates the risk of a localized failure, and protects against attacks and disasters. However, multiple clouds need to be connected to each other, and branch office locations need to connect to the clouds. Cloud-hosted SD-WAN gateways can provide this capability. Organizations can configure gateways to steer traffic over the best route to its final destination based on policies as well as connect their applications and branch offices to the services that they need.

Don’t Take Our Word for It

Industry Influencers Recognize VMware Leadership

2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure

For the third year, VMware SD-WAN™ by VeloCloud® leads the WAN Edge Infrastructure market, continuing to be placed furthest in Completeness of Vision and highest in Ability to Execute.

2020 Gartner Critical Capabilities for WAN Edge Infrastructure

Infrastructure and operations leaders responsible for networking are evaluating WAN edge solutions to address expanding business requirements in order to connect to on-premises and cloud-based workloads. They should use this research to identify vendors that best fit their specific use cases.

Frost and Sullivan Award for SD-WAN Leadership

Frost & Sullivan recognizes VMware with the 2018 Global Market Leadership Award for capturing the highest share of the SD-WAN market. Read this complementary copy of the Frost and Sullivan Analysis of the SD-WAN Market to find out more.