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Will the SD-WAN market consolidate?

This week, bloggers explore SD-WAN market consolidation, APIs and SDN, and cybersecurity goals for the next U.S. president.

Packet Pushers blogger Drew Conry-Murray probed SD-WAN market consolidation, describing a segment thronged with what he called a ridiculous number of companies. All along, Conry-Murray expected the SD-WAN market would ultimately narrow down to four or five leading suppliers. However, after meeting with vendors at Interop 2016, Conry-Murray said he has doubts that consolidation will take place, as the SD-WAN market swells to a $6 billion valuation by 2020. "[That's] a compound annual growth rate of 90% between 2015 and 2020," he added, noting that vendors will be able to remain in the SD-WAN market longer.

Conry-Murray pointed out that venture capitalists want to see growth -- not profits -- and in a high-growth area like the SD-WAN market, startups may stick around longer. There are many similarities among vendors, which support a range of connection types, identify applications and select paths, putting extra emphasis on customers to parse the differences. Nonetheless, he said he sees potential for more differentiation, with startups focusing on such areas as firewalls, malware detection and application performance monitoring.

Learn more of Conry-Murray's thoughts on the SD-WAN market.

APIs and SDN

Network engineer Ivan Pepelnjak put together a video that discusses the role of APIs in a software-defined networking (SDN) world. Pepelnjak said although programmability is nice, device vendors that put an API on top of the command-line interface (CLI) often claim -- inaccurately -- that they have created an SDN-enabled box.

Pepelnjak said sys admins don't want GUI administrative interfaces and prefer command-line tools to craft repeatable processes. Nevertheless, he said he believes they do want an API to remotely administer a system. He added that network device CLIs face their own challenges, such as being unstructured, requiring multiline configuration and lacking status codes.

Dig deeper into Pepelnjak's thoughts on how APIs dovetail with SDN.

Cybersecurity in the next presidency

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., revealed what he'd like to see with cybersecurity when the next U.S. president takes office in January. Although cybersecurity has gotten short shrift in recent primary debates, Oltsik said he sees it becoming a critical national issue in the upcoming presidential race and offers advice for federal policy.

First, Oltsik said he believes the United States needs to create and fund a national cybersecurity education program and a national public awareness campaign detailing cyberattacks. He also suggested the creation of tax incentives to help prime the pump for private cybersecurity investments and that the country put together a comprehensive data privacy policy. In addition, Oltsik said the $19 billion Cybersecurity National Action Plan needs more transparency. Above all, Oltsik said the United States must lead a multilateral, international cybersecurity effort to cut down on cybercrime.

Explore more of Oltsik's thoughts on cybersecurity.

Next Steps

How SD-WAN changes the market

Understanding northbound APIs

Obama's cybersecurity plan

Dig Deeper on Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN)