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Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo – The challenges and Opportunities of SD-WAN in 2020

SD-WANDigital Transformation

Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo – The challenges and Opportunities of SD-WAN in 2020

Gartner IT events are always very colourful, as far as terminology is concerned. The trendiest and “coolest” jargon is thrown around like confetti on New Year’s party and everyone is covered in it. The word for 2019 is TECHQUILIBRIUM. Gartner describes it as the balance point where the enterprise has the right mix of traditional and digital capabilities and assets, to power the business model needed to compete most effectively, in an industry that is being digitally revolutionized.

Some terms though offer more than just glitz and glamour – they are names of genuinely maturing technologies, which may very well be implemented in both enterprises and SMEs, not just Fortune 500 behemoths.

We sat down with our Product Director of Europe and Deputy Director of European Operations, Mr Serve Bunnik, to talk about one such technology – SD-WAN, also known as Software-Defined Wide Area Network.

Q: Let’s jump right into it: on the Gartner we ran a sort of unofficial poll among the companies we spoke to and while about 65% know what SD-WAN is, but only a third are using it today. What is the reason behind such slow SD-WAN adoption rate even though we have been speaking about it for over 5 years?

A: I think it has a lot to do with the fact that SD-WAN is one of those technologies, which make a lot of sense intuitively and are relatively easy to grasp but are not easy to adopt. Or to convince yourself that it makes sense in your particular situation.

Q: What is SD-WAN and what is its value today, if you were to put it into 2-3 sentences?

A: It’s a cost-efficient strategy for managing and deploying your WAN with tools like edge security, classes of service, load balancing and centralized orchestration. A physical or virtual SD-WAN box gets shipped to your branch, plugged into the Internet, LTE or other connectivity and starts working as your SD-WAN node.

Q: Well, sounds very easy and compelling. But back to my original question – what are the main SD-WAN adoption challenges?

A: There are several challenges and most of them are kind of difficult to get over.

First and foremost, SD-WAN market is very fragmented and most vendors build their technology in a way that makes it incompatible with other vendor solutions. So, when a customer has spent years building their WAN using say Juniper, it’s difficult to just go ahead and switch to Fortinet or Cisco.

Then there is the issue of leveraging your investment into SD-WAN, making sure that it fits into your existing network infrastructure. Not every company has the muscle in their network ops team to add SD-WAN into the framework – it requires rich knowledge and experience. And if you can’t – then why even bother? You might just as well keep configuring those IPSec tunnels and encryption the old-fashioned way.

Q: What is the solution then? How can organizations get more values out of this readily available, yet complicated technology?

A: Through partners. There are several strong SD-WAN providers on the market, including CITIC Telecom CPC, which deliver SD-WAN as a managed solution. This means that a company can run a proof of concept with someone who already has the experience and evaluate the results. Also, we provide customers with orchestrator services and actual edge devices in places far away from Europe. This means that SD-WAN implementation becomes an OPEX-based managed service project, rather than a capital investment into unexplored tech.

If you are looking for a partner to help you evaluate SD-WAN opportunities for Europe, Russia, CIS, China or APAC please contact us! CITIC Telecom CPC offers a variety of SD-WAN-related services and works with several premier vendors.

Vladimir Jelov

Mr. Vladimir Jelov

Enterprise Sales Manager, Europe, CITIC Telecom CPC

Mr Vladimir Jelov is CITIC Telecom CPC enterprise sales manager responsible for developing of business in Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and Denmark. His main priorities include work with new and existing customers, identifying the ones which our infrastructure can help expand to outside markets, as well as promoting our brand. He is a seasoned ICT professional with over 15 years of experience and knowledge from a variety of IT disciplines such as Telecommunications, ERP, HRMS, BI etc.

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