The WAN edge is becoming more distributed and dynamic, which is overburdening IT organizations that are already at a breaking point. Software-defined WAN technology has solved some of the issue, but they haven’t gone far enough. The cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the work-from-home (WFH) revolution demand something more.
Cloud, WFH, and IoT Drive Unpredictable WAN Topology
By 2024, 88% of enterprises will be multi-cloud, with 47% telling EMA that they will use three or more cloud providers. Only 18% of network operations teams are fully satisfied with the visibility they have into their cloud networks.
Gone are the days when the private data center was the hub of a corporate network. Now, each cloud VPC becomes its own mini-hub, and these cloud footprints come and go. Network teams need WAN solutions that dynamically provision cloud interconnections and site-to-cloud connections.
EMA research also found that 85% of enterprises have experienced a permanent increase in the number of employees who work from home (WFH) at least part-time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A network engineer with a large insurance company explained it to EMA in stark terms: “We expect about 70% of people to go into the office only two or three days a week. Another 15% will never go back—they will just do their jobs at home.”
Unfortunately, one in four IT organizations tell EMA that infrastructure complexity is a significant challenge to addressing WFH, which is pushing IT organizations to deploy a highly distributed and dynamic network edge. EMA found that 78% of companies are considering the implementation of software-defined WAN capabilities in at least some home offices. These organizations tell us they want to extend integrated security, automated site-to-cloud connectivity, and centralized management to these home offices. In other words, an enterprise that once connected 10,000 employees via a handful of corporate sites may now connect 10,000 employees via 10,000 sites.
By the end of this year, 83% of enterprises will have IoT devices and sensors connecting to their corporate networks, especially healthcare, logistics, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and retail companies. Many of these IoT devices may be within an existing corporate site, but many others will not. Temporary stores and clinics may pop up, demanding connections for medical devices and point of sales. Vehicles may require connectivity for public safety communications or driverless operations. Construction sites will need temporary WAN links.
Perfect Storm: Network Skeleton Crews Face Dynamic Change
Today’s SD-WAN solutions provide centralized management and control, application-centric traffic policies, and integrated security, but most of them require the configuration and mapping of thousands of site-to-site tunnels. This requires tremendous heavy lifting by network teams to establish these networks. With networks becoming more dynamic—even unpredictable—network teams are going to receive an avalanche of moves, adds, and changes along the WAN edge.
Unfortunately, IT organizations lack the resources to keep up. Only 12.5% of organizations report no difficulty in hiring and retaining network engineering personnel. Today’s talent pool simply lacks specialized skills, IT stakeholders tell EMA. One in four IT organizations say they can’t find people with WAN expertise.
Graphiant: A Vendor to Watch
Graphiant is coming to market with a WAN solution that intends to address the challenges outlined above. Graphiant truly separates the WAN data plane and control plane, allowing for the deployment of lightweight WAN edge gateways on x86 hardware. It will partner with zero trust network access and secure service edge vendors to highly distributed IoT and WFH edge requirements, too. Eschewing tunnels, Graphiant leverages a stateless, private network core to dynamically establish site-to-site connectivity for an unpredictable WAN topology.
EMA’s Vendor to Watch program recognizes companies that are solving difficult problems with novel solutions. We believe Graphiant is tackling the problem of the dynamic WAN edge with an innovative solution. For that reason, EMA has named Graphiant a Vendor to Watch. To read more about our decision and how Graphiant is innovating, click here.