In a recent interview Tony Evans (Vice President, Global Financial Services, Juniper Networks) highlighted that the top three issues for CIOs at his customers in the financial services industry are: cost; agility; and risk. None of these are surprising, and will probably still be the big issues this time next year
See the video below where Tony discusses these issues
There are essentially three main types of network that businesses need to operate:
LAN within offices
WAN between offices
Data Center for business applications
The LAN network has already shifted to a wireless led environment which has helped to reduce costs of cabling and allow greater agility when bringing new devices in to the workplace. Security has also long been a challenge for wireless. But with separated SSIDs and stronger policy based authentication there are now mature solutions in this areas.
The data center is also going through a fundamental shift to be come more cloud orientated with its well know benefits around cost and agility. Though these are some security issues to be overcome.
In contrast the WAN is a part of the overall network which has seen less innovation in recent years. Access speeds have increased (in part due to due to falling costs) and there is now more fibre based access. However the fundamental networking has not seen a radical innovation in many year. It could even be argued that the fundamental service is largely unchanged since the introduction of X.25 over 20 years ago.
It's interesting to think about how SD-WAN impacts the three areas of cost; agility and risk.
Cost: it could be argued that the fundamental driver for SD-WAN is cost. At it's heart SD-WAN allows intelligent routing of traffic by application over different WAN connections. This will allow businesses to reduce traffic on the (expensive) MPLS connections and instead use (low cost) Internet links. Some recent research from PwC for Juniper highlighted that there can be a difference of over 4x in the cost per bit of these two connection types.
Agility: the most commonly cited benefit of NFV and SDN is agility. By itself SD-WAN does have some agility benefits around the ease of adding in new connections and building over the top tunnels for DIY VPNs. However, the real agility benefits arise if you adopt a more comprehensive solution such as Juniper's Cloud CPE. Our solution also brings zero touch deployment of CPE and the ability to instantly deploy additional network functions such as WAN optimization and security. These can be hosted in the cloud or on the customer site within the CPE
Risk: as Tony highlights in his interview risk is not only from security, but from compliance and the risk of human errors. Cloud CPE introduces an easy way to deploy new security solutions. But it also addresses the more fundamental issue of automation. The whole platform for Cloud CPE has been designed to be automated with analytics built in. This helps to reduce human error, and allow visibility of the network to ensure compliance.
The interview with Tony above was part of a discussion of a recently published white paper from the industry analysts Ovum. The free paper contains many more insights in to the challenges facing CIOs in the financial services industry and how CIOs should look to respond to them. If you're interested in finding out more then you can find the white paper here.