When SD-WAN is more than SD-WAN

As the SD-WAN market has matured, one thing has become very clear: SD-WAN will not exist on its own. The technology is merging with other networking technologies, ultimately becoming a feature of a much larger bundle. While it may be too early to say what this “new thing” will be, the rough contours are emerging.

Predominantly, we’re seeing security and SD-WANs merge. Just consider some of the activity:

  • Velocloud recently announced its SD-WAN Security Technology Partner Program to integrate with other security vendor’s products.
  • Viptela (soon to be Cisco), Silver Peak, Velocloud and others have long (well, long in the SD-WAN sense) touted integration with security vendors using service chaining.
  • Cato Networks built its own integrated security and networking stack in the cloud.
  • Masergy bundles SD-WAN (Silver Peak and its own technology) with third-party security services in the cloud.

But what’s missing in many of these integrated offerings is the completeness of the edge solution. Companies need more than just an SD-WAN in branch offices. They need firewall, IPS, anti-malware, URL filtering and anti-virus for security. Internally, networking calls for Active Directory, DHCP, DNS, and print services. Externally, the edge may need WAN optimization, bandwidth management, QOS, traffic balancing, and, yes, SD-WAN.

Over the years we packaged these services as standalone appliances, stacked on top of one another. It was kind of ironic to me. With so many appliances being repackaged servers, you’d think somebody would have the idea of licensing best-of-breed software and collapsing them all into one server.

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