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Looking ahead at NFV trends in 2016

In our latest roundup of posts from SDN blogs, analysts explore network functions virtualization trends, SD-WAN adoption rates and software-defined security tools.

NFV trends: Are service silos here to stay? 

Tom Nolle, president at CIMI Corp., said that silos aren't going anywhere, even with the advent of network functions virtualization. In fact, Nolle said that current NFV trends and the way operators plan to approach deployment in 2016 will likely strengthen them.

"I don't know whether we understand what an NFV transformation would look like," an unnamed CIO told Nolle. "We are committed to evolving from trials toward something, but I don't really know what that 'something' is, or exactly how we'll approach it."

Nolle wrote that because most NFV trials and proof of concepts focus on single-service concepts -- typically VCPE -- the above "wing and a prayer" development strategy will likely institutionalize such single-service silos. To maximize NFV benefits, operators will need to tackle silo convergence or rely on one "ginormous silo" that addresses a massive use case, such as mobility or the Internet of Things.

Learn more about Nolle's network predictions for 2016, including other emerging NFV trends.  

SD-WAN adoption will accelerate

Andrew Lerner, an analyst with Gartner, shared this prediction in a recent post: "By the end of 2019, 30% of enterprises will have deployed SD-WAN technology in their branches, up from less than 1% today."

As Lerner wrote, SD-WAN doesn't solve all problems in the wide area network (WAN), but "it's still pretty cool." And despite suffering from "shiny new object syndrome" and "vendorspeak," SD-WAN's benefits are compelling, and its implementation relatively simple. Lerner shared some takeaways from Gartner's new "Market Guide for SD-WAN," including:

  • Pilots and production deployments are still in very early stages.
  • Vendors of all shapes and sizes continue to join the growing SD-WAN market.
  • Users should ask for reference customers before committing to a particular vendor, paying special attention to factors such as scalability and broad support of edge devices.

Discover more of Lerner's thoughts on SD-WAN adoption.

Software-defined cybersecurity  

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., recently explored some current cybersecurity challenges and how APIs might help meet them. He wrote that today, many enterprises rely on 60 to 80 different security tools from many different vendors. Unfortunately, this fragmentation often leads to poor scalability and operational challenges, driving efforts to create integrated cybersecurity architectures.

Oltsik said the cybersecurity space will likely develop around single-vendor approaches, with a few big players eventually dominating the market. He added, however, that an alternative path has emerged, featuring loose software federations that are driven by APIs. In this scenario, he wrote, software-defined security tools become ever more attractive, with software-defined firewalls and gateways usurping millions of dollars' worth of their hardware counterparts.

Read more of Oltsik's thoughts on software's emerging role in cybersecurity.

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