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Cisco Sees SD-WAN, Other Tech Leading 2019 Networking Transformation

Networking giant Cisco Systems sees software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) among the technologies that will change the networking space in 2019.

While the old-guard, proprietary, hardware-centric exemplar may have been slow to jump on the software-centric bandwagon several years ago, it subsequently hitched a ride with its sofware-defined networking (SDN) offering, Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and other new-age initiatives.

As SD-WAN emerged as the primary enterprise onramp for the SDN movement, Cisco upped its SD-WAN game with the acquisition of Viptela.

Now, the company has placed SD-WAN among "The 5 Technologies that will Change Networking in 2019."

"SD-WAN has been a promised technology for years, but in 2019 it will be a major driver in how networks are built and re-built," Cisco's Anand Oswal said in a blog post last week. "In the coming year, SD-WAN network traffic will grow by 500 percent, and our research shows that more than half of business customers who don’t currently use SD-WAN are going to make plans for its adoption."

Oswal described SD-WAN as part of the new-age transformation that's breaking down the old corporate network model of main datacenters interconnecting to other branches and systems where firewalls and other applications worked.

"That model still exists -- businesses don’t change network architectures rapidly -- but it is breaking down," Oswal said. "Designing networks primarily around branch-to-data-center connections doesn’t make sense when so many business applications are now run out of the cloud, and so many end users rely on the open Internet for connection when they’re not in a company office.

"For these and other reasons, business are moving to software-defined wide-area networking, SD-WAN. SD-WAN allows networks to route traffic based on centrally-managed roles and rules, no matter what the entry and exit points of the traffic is – and with full security. For example, if a user in a branch office is working on Office365, SD-WAN can route their traffic directly to the closest cloud data center for that app, improving network responsiveness for the user and lowering bandwidth costs for the business."

The other four technologies changing networking in 2019 will be:

  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 5G
  • Digitized Spaces
  • Machine Learning

"2019 is going to be a transformative year in enterprise networking," Oswal said. "Network operators will be preparing systems to support dramatically greater device density and data throughput, and they will be getting new analytics about their infrastructure use from the network itself. Meanwhile, network personnel will become more effective and efficient, thanks to improvements in centralized management tools and machine intelligence.

"Together, these new capabilities will make networks into even more important assets that businesses will leverage in ways that we have not yet begun to realize."

Global Enterprise SD-WAN Traffic
[Click on image for larger view.] Global Enterprise SD-WAN Traffic (source: Cisco).

Earlier, Cisco published other forward-looking guidance in its big annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) report, which forecasts a huge rise in IP traffic, much of it driven by the exploding SD-WAN market.

"SD-WAN traffic will grow at a CAGR of 37 percent compared to 3 percent for traditional MPLS-based WAN," the report states. "SD-WAN will increase 5-fold and will be 29 percent of WAN traffic by 2022."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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