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This article is part of our Essential Guide: What is SD-WAN? Future, challenges, benefits of SD-WAN technology

Survey: SD-WAN challenges include immaturity and complexity

Complexity and maturity concerns rank among top SD-WAN challenges, according to a survey from Cato Networks. Also, Juniper's OpenContrail is rebranded to Tungsten Fabric.

Organizations have started to see how software-defined WAN deployment can increase network flexibility and agility....

But according to a survey conducted by Cato Networks, unfamiliarity with SD-WAN, its relative immaturity and concerns about its complexity remain top SD-WAN challenges deterring adoption among enterprises.

Fears that SD-WAN technology still needs additional refinement was the biggest worry expressed by the survey's respondents, with almost half citing that reason as the biggest barrier blocking SD-WAN investment, Cato said. An overall lack of awareness about the technology was another inhibiting SD-WAN challenge. When asked specifically about SD-WAN vendors and providers, respondents listed complexity as their top complaint.

Some of the primary motivations respondents said they had for considering SD-WAN deployment hinged on company initiatives to modernize the WAN and to address WAN-related costs. While SD-WAN is touted as a way to significantly reduce costs, 20% of respondents said SD-WAN deployment failed to meet cost-related expectations. Another 20% claimed deployment met expectations.

Asked about SD-WAN's benefits, respondents were consistent across the board, with most saying SD-WAN deployment increased network flexibility and agility, and also boosted network connectivity.

Cato said the survey was based on responses from more than 1,600 IT professionals.

OpenContrail rebrands to Tungsten Fabric

Juniper Networks and The Linux Foundation have rebranded Juniper's OpenContrail SDN platform as the software becomes available to the foundation's open source community.

OpenContrail -- now Tungsten Fabric -- said the rebranding is an attempt to avoid market confusion about Juniper's commercial Contrail product line and the open source project, according to an OpenContrail blog post. The open source code will be available to The Linux Foundation community, and Tungsten Fabric is in talks with the foundation about joining the recently introduced LF Networking umbrella platform. Overall, Tungsten Fabric said these moves should help attract a wider range of developers and participants.

An overall lack of awareness about the technology was another inhibiting SD-WAN challenge.

Tungsten Fabric provides architecture for use cases like cloud networking and network functions virtualization. The platform comprises an SDN controller, which resides on premises and manages the virtualized network, and a virtual router that acts as a forwarding plane.

ONF and operator partners to focus on production-ready projects in 2018

The Open Networking Foundation is formalizing a strategic plan with operators in a push to drive production-ready open source networking projects in 2018.

ONF and its operator partners -- AT&T, China Unicom, Comcast, Deutsche Telekom, Google, NTT Group, Telefónica and Türk Telekom -- said this week they developed a strategy to pinpoint common platforms that can be deployed across multiple operators.

"Operators have recognized a lack of clarity on common platforms," ONF said in a statement. "Unnecessary customization drives variants and unique requirements into the ecosystem, which in turn drives complexity and cost."

ONF's plan will incorporate two main points. The first point encompasses modular reference designs operators will create as blueprints for their projects. The second part hinges on operators and ONF making those reference designs production-ready, ONF said.

These reference designs will take various open source networking projects and merge them onto white box or open source platforms, according to ONF. The components for each reference design can originate from projects across the industry and aren't limited to ONF projects. Operators then select the reference designs they plan to further develop for eventual deployment.

Current areas of operator focus include fixed and mobile broadband access, leaf-spine data center fabrics, multi-access edge computing, 5G use cases at the edge and software-defined networking.

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What are the main networking challenges your organization faces?
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The main challenges will be the lock-in to expensive service providers who have imprisoned networks into a Private Network Address Translated isolated entities. These private network areas do virtually nothing for security and in fact add their own vulnerabilities. It serves these service provider's purpose to have their clients operating in a high margin vacuum. Further hype propaganda in the area of CoS confuses the clients to the point that they believe that they really need this stuff. A huge and increasing challenge remains malicious activity and viruses. These are just a few of the issues.
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