If you have been around technology for more than a few years, you are familiar with the way new technologies roll into the marketplace. With the exception of true revolutions, like the smartphone, few technologies in the enterprise arrive on the scene and immediately are adopted broadly. Most new tech follows the Gartner hype cycle.
As anyone who has been listening to me for the last few years will attest, I have been a loud advocate of the fact that SD-WAN was going to disrupt the way most enterprises have been doing Wide Area Networking (WAN) for the last two decades (MPLS and VPN’s for the most part). I stand pretty firm in that conviction and Eclipse has helped a number of clients achieve some of the tremendous technical, operational, and financial gains that SD-WAN can deliver. That being said, we are in a dangerous part of the cycle, what Gartner calls the Peak of Inflated Expectations, and I call the “me too” phase. SD-WAN has created a gold rush of venture capital and there are now at least 20 different SD-WAN platforms on the market. They will not all make it out of this phase and frankly, given the size of the companies they are all acquisition targets at this point (Cisco has already launched the first volley, acquiring Viptela).
The second piece of the ‘me-too’ phase, is the that the traditional providers of network services, the carriers, have all jumped on the bandwagon, every carrier, even those that have not done traditional MPLS WAN like the cable co.’s now have an SD-WAN offering (though very few implementations to be sure). Carriers have all rushed in and chosen a platform to make sure they hold onto the network assets they have today by cannibalizing their own revenue rather than letting a competitor displace all of the revenue.
What all of this adds up to is a lot of confusion and noise for the end customer. A ton of carrier sales people calling you and telling you that you need SD-WAN because they have a quota for it now, while having little understanding of either the benefits or potential drawbacks is causing customers to tune out the noise.
If you are looking for the signal in the noise, it’s this: there are potentially tremendous gains to be had by moving to an SD-WAN architecture. The key is to sit down with someone who fundamentally understands what those gains are (hint: it’s not just saving money) to see where SD-WAN fits into your overall networking strategy. Give Eclipse a call today, we know what questions to ask and where the pitfalls lie because we’ve done this and as always remain your advocate and Sherpa in guiding you through the terrain of new technology.