“SD-WAN is increasingly moving towards a managed as-a-service model. Enterprises are looking for simplicity of consumption and at cloud-based architectures that are easy,” says Shashi Kiran, CMO at Aryaka in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: Thousands of businesses have migrated thousands of apps to the cloud. So, what’s the next big shift the industry is going to witness?
Shashi Kiran: There is a lot of innovation happening around securing these apps, making them more portable across locations and creating architectures that are hybrid in nature to take advantage of processing locally versus in the cloud. Being able to bring the app closer to the user or device, and making it easier to engage with it, leveraging the power of machine learning and AI are all exciting new areas.
ET Bureau: What does 2021 have in store for the SASE and SD-WAN market?
Shashi Kiran: SD-WAN is increasingly moving towards a managed as-a-service model. Enterprises are looking for simplicity of consumption and at cloud-based architectures that are easy. Stacking boxes with “do-it-myself” models are ridden with complexity, and getting traditional Telcos to manage them brings the same problems all over again. SD-WAN buying patterns are increasingly combined with network security decisions. In a way, this starts to lead to SASE architectures, which is the convergence of network and network security delivered as-a-service.
Vendors with strong a SD-WAN as-a-service offering will lay the foundation for moving to SASE. Again, the true promise of SASE as envisioned by the likes of Gartner with all the elements will take some time. We’re increasingly seeing companies build or acquire the components required for SASE.
ET Bureau: With the new remote working trend, how can SD-WAN solution help enterprises maintain a reliable and productive work experience?
Shashi Kiran: Remote working is not a new trend, I remember we solved all these issues in the 1990s. What changed was the sheer volume of remote workers that enterprises had to contend with in such a compressed period of time. In some ways, I view this as the biggest human migration in history, as office workers moved to work from home. We’ll see a reverse migration soon. CIOs had to manage change quickly and keep their businesses running without any disruption, while allowing employees to collaborate and be productive.
In all these instances, the network and security are quite important. They needed a network that allowed them to be more agile and manage change gracefully. This has led to a greater interest and adoption of SD-WAN solutions and cloud-first architectures for network and security. It has also led to greater interest in Zero-trust architectures (ZTNA). Networks now need to provide flexibility to sites and users, across edge or cloud and also in a multi-cloud scenario without compromising the user or application experience. This in turn promotes a great work experience. This is one of the reasons, why we introduced the concept of Hybrid workplaces for the “anywhere” worker in Dec 2020.
ET Bureau: What are some of the biggest barriers for SD-WAN Adoption in 2021?
Shashi Kiran: I think inertia is a major deal. A lot of enterprises moving towards SD-WAN are actually moving off of MPLS networks. While the pandemic accelerated this trend, it also put a pause in many cases. If there aren’t any employees working from the office for extended periods of time, why focus on upgrading the office WAN? Could they defer doing that till when employees actually got back to work from the office? Such thinking, rightfully so in many causes, shifted the focus away from SD-WAN to private access solutions with ZTNA capabilities.
The companies that moved away from MPLS were the ones who had contracts expiring. Even then, in some cases, the traditional Telcos dropped their pricing drastically to retain that MPLS customer and prolonged their runway. All these became barriers in a way.
ET Bureau: Will SASE transform how we do security systems in 2021? But, is misinformation slowing down SASE Adoption?
Shashi Kiran: SASE is not an IETF or IEEE standard. It is an architectural philosophy, originally proposed by Gartner. The capabilities like firewall, SD-WAN etc. have all been around for a while. What’s really changing is how they are coming together with purposeful convergence and integration upfront, as well as how they would be consumed leveraging cloud-first service principles from the cloud to the edge. There is a bit of posturing going on in the industry. We saw this hype cycle with SD-WAN as well initially. It will take time for the confusion to clear and enterprises realize that they don’t need the whole enchilada and right-size the SASE architecture based on their needs.
ET Bureau: Is continued WAN and application growth resulting in increased network complexity?
Shashi Kiran: Growth is good and the WAN should be in the service of applications. So, those are not excuses for network complexity. The real reason we hear from customers and partners on areas of complexity they experienced before moving to a solution from Aryaka, is that traditional boxes don’t scale or that they require multiple vendors for individual capabilities. These are decoupled from the underlay, don’t offer SLAs or deep visibility, which leads to unpredictability and opaqueness. Compound it with cloud, last mile and global locations, it leads to a challenging dynamic. Scale cannot be accomplished by stacking boxes, or adding features. It comes as a result of simplicity and standardization.
ET Bureau: How does Aryaka’s Cloud-First WAN built on SD-WAN, SASE, benefit enterprises?
Shashi Kiran: Cloud-First for us is a broad philosophy where we focus on simplicity, ease of use, “as-a-service”-based consumption models that allow for faster change management and hugely predictable application performance. Aryaka’s approach is different from the rest of the industry. We try to abstract complexity and distribute simplicity to our customers and provide a delightful experience for them.
This is the reason why we rate so high as a leader and the only provider with our own technology in the likes of Gartner’s peer review “Voice of the customer”, where based on votes from our customers, we are at the top of every geography across N. America, EMEA and APJC. Eventually, SD-WAN and SASE will all be a means to an end. While we are certainly the best-of-breed in such architectures, where we shine is in aligning them to the needs of our customers and taking ownership and accountability end-to-end. Our customers simply love us for this.