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2017: The Year of Branch Network Simplification

There has long been a consensus that integrated network appliances lead to simpler, easy to manage and deploy networks, and 2017 will be the year that we start seeing the integrated network appliance widely in actual deployments.

However, this trend isn't taking shape the way it was predicted. It's not NFV driving the change, as most businesses have rejected the DIY approach to networking. They aren't interested in integrating services themselves, and multi-vendor orchestration systems haven't materialized outside the service provider space.

Rather, the integrated branch network appliance has been realized through the ever-growing functionality available in SD-WAN. While the range and level of this functionality varies, SD-WAN technology has expanded to encompass many networking functions that used to be available in stand-alone solutions, including routing, WAN optimization, firewalls, and wireless access points. In general, these SD-WAN integrated edge appliances are offered by a single vendor with pre-integrated services that are configured and controlled through a centralized policy system.

But why now? And why SD-WAN? Several factors are at work, converging on the inevitability of SD-WAN:

All these trends taken together are changing how people think about and approach their network, driving the push away from a multi-vendor, multi-box branch network and toward an integrated edge appliance that is easy to deploy, manage, and troubleshoot. And in 2017, SD-WAN will continue to push enterprise networks forward.