SD-WAN grows up
Enterprise IT continues to embrace private and public clouds and increasingly needs to connect remote users and branch offices across public networks to cloud services. SD-WAN has become a favorite tool, not only for providing Wide Area Network (WAN) connectivity between branches and cloud services, but for managing and securing it too. The beauty of SD-WAN is that it is a service overlay abstracting diverse WAN connectivity. It provides a standard and consistent view of the enterprise’s network and users, wherever and however they are connected across the world. And yet, until recently, the standards around SD-WAN itself have not been so transparent.
Fortunately, this has changed with the publishing of the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services standard, MEF 70, in November (2019). It sets forth what counts as SD-WAN, the basic terms and component parts of an SD-WAN solution, and the key attributes of an SD-WAN service that is provided by service providers to enterprises with an SLA. This will make it easier for enterprises to understand, evaluate and choose SD-WAN services in the future. Ultimately, it will ensure interoperability between different SD-WAN services, with MEF providing certificates of conformance to SD-WAN vendors that meet the standard.
The MEF is also hoping through this initiative to address skills shortages in the industry by providing professional certification for SD-WAN professionals. It will streamline automation of SD-WAN through lifecycle service orchestration and the introduction of intent-based networking principles. Finally, it aims to better define SD-WAN security, which given the increasing number of attacks, will be essential to ensuring that security is maintained across multi-vendor SD-WAN implementations.
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