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Going beyond the SD-WAN Hype in Asia: The early evangelists

Dipesh Ranjan

By Dipesh Ranjan, APAC Head, NetFoundry

Businesses in Asia Pacific (APAC) are actively considering increasing their investments in networking technologies based on the cloud. In a study by technology analyst firm IDC they claimed that worldwide SD-WAN infrastructure and services revenues will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 69.6%, to reach $8.05bn in 2021. That is an impressive figure.

IDC says that in Southeast Asia, almost 56% of organisations have already deployed, or are planning to deploy, SD-WAN. Almost 30% of those surveyed singled out the policy-based control and WAN optimisation capabilities of SD-WAN as top drivers for implementing the technology.

IDC Asia-Pacific says that most WAN traffic today – to and from branch and remote sites – is destined for the cloud on either hosted applications or public cloud.

It’s not surprising, since the old-fashioned WAN was designed to start at branch level and end at the datacenter and was never designed to support the sheer complexity of cloud-driven traffic. IDC pointed out in their survey that organisations which are still using traditional networks are facing major challenges on performance and operational difficulties.

The network node has to support vast numbers of new applications and massively growing business units as organisations expand, diversify and respond to the new problems and workloads such as the Internet of things (IoT).

However, most of APAC CIOs and CTOs feel that SD-WAN has been overhyped and that it’s not yet solving top networking issues such as deploying applications to the cloud, hybrid cloud set-ups and Industrial IoT devices in way that is on demand and gremlin-free.

While the IaaS market has been growing due to its ability to provision resources quickly, the network as we know it is losing out. Netfoundry addresses this problem by helping enterprises to deploy zero-trust application specific networks across multi-cloud and multi-edge environments.

NetFoundry has been able to move beyond the traditional SD-WAN formula and has innovated a cloud-native platform which gives clients not only the ability to instantly connect a fully software-only application-based networks in cloud and IoT ecosystems but also to achieve 3 to 5 times higher performance on their underlay network. For example, NetFoundry can provision Internet with 5 layers of security built in to keep enterprises safe from DDoS attacks while connecting them to any provider, such as AWS or AZURE, from anywhere, anytime using any underlay internet provider.

Many organisations still have a naïve belief in their traditional technology and either the fear of failure, or lack of imagination, drives them away from adoption of software-defned network technology. Early evangelists are few and far between but they are reaping the benefits of the new networking paradigm and will shape the future of APAC networking in the same way that it transformed the cloud-scape over last decade.

Dave Ulmer, Head of Digital, MD Pictures, the leading Indonesian movie production company said: “As one of the largest film production companies in ASIA, MD pictures was looking for an agile yet powerful solution to migrate our applications and large data files to AWS. NetFoundry has enabled us to do this quickly and securely without the need for cumbersome VPNs or expensive direct connect /MPLs circuits. This new type of cloud-

native, high-performance, instant networking has increased our internal productivity, accelerated time to market and enabled us to compete as a modern digital enterprise.“

Due to a massive increase in destructive hacking incidents aimed at various govt sites, almost two-thirds of decision makers have planned to make it a priority to attempt to reduce their exposure to the risk of cyber-attacks as the main focus over the next 12 months. NetFoundry’s ability to protect data in motion using a zero-trust approach has helped protect enterprises across APAC.

Disposal of Legacy Circuit WAN Networking

Cloud-based applications and virtualization have shifted networking needs away from devices and boxes and toward native application-based networking solutions. In a this faster, more agile world – leveraging an application-specific network (ASN) can replace the need for private circuits, proprietary hardware, and old-fashioned telco solutions. All it requires is an Internet connection. ASNs remove the infrastructure and push the perimeter out towards the application, individual device, branch office, and/or user endpoints no matter what or where they are. This simplifies connectivity at scale while enabling granular, zero-trust security that meets and exceeds even the most stringent compliance standards.

Chakit Abi Saab, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), OSM Maritime Group that brings over two decades of experience in the Maritime Industry sums up well the need for simplicity of connection and security: “The level of efficiency OSM Maritime Group will gain from working with an innovative organization like NetFoundry cannot be understated. In today’s business, all industries have one commonality, and it is critical to give everyone in the organization the ability to access all applications when they need it, whenever they need it, no matter where in the world they are, and to have this access securely is no longer optional but a must. For that reason, we have decided to work with Netfoundry as a global partner.”

Praveen Sengar, Head of IT & Business Operations at Dimension Data APAC, one of the largest global systems integrator and part of Japanese conglomerate NTT group said: “One of the major challenges when you drive digital transformation is to build cloud centric environment where application migration within hybrid cloud usage need to be managed with ongoing operation and connectivity. High performance & reliability of cloud network with security and compliance is an additional pain when apps are cloud native and need application specific access. NetFoundry was like a light in the tunnel where we found agile cloud native secured networking which will allow us to migrate on premise to cloud in minutes and also build application specific connectivity for our external vendors who need access to work on our projects in real time and on a short term basis. Managing many of these vendors within a single pane of glass with a multiple app based network on the NetFoundry platform will make our life so easier for our next wave of transformation.”

A recent Futuriom survey of IT Managers regarding their view on applications networking trends revealed the need for a new kind of applications specific networking (ASN) that includes integrated security and cloud connectivity. These ASNs, or AppWANs, would be able to connect and secure cloud applications without the need for specific hardware configurations of VPN servers. Futuriom surveyed 200 IT managers in application development, networking, security and DevOps to find out what they view as these primary challenges and how they might be solved.

The research findings reveal that enterprise users don’t see SD-WANs as a solution for all networking security challenges. For example, SD-WANs may be appropriate for branch connectivity, but they don’t always support applications beyond the network including IOT devices. A large number of IT managers surveyed did not see SD-WAN as an IoT solution, with 43.5% of users agreeing with the statement SD-WAN is not an ideal solution for networking Industrial IoT devices.

Based on the results of the Futuriom survey, it’s clear to IT managers are looking for a more flexible and secure software-based networking solution for the cloud. ASNs are likely to serve the future need to connect distributed applications in SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS environments, whether it’s single cloud, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud environments. Smart businesses in Asia Pacific without a doubt seem to be catching on to this fast and embracing the benefits of fast, secure and compliant networks more than other parts of the world. Watch this space!