Monday, 05 July 2021 17:22

Software-defined networks help enterprises in Australia respond to COVID-19

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ISG Provider Lens report says companies accelerated SDN deployments to increase network capacity and cloud-based resources for remote work, supply chain and logistics challenges

Australian enterprises have stepped up their adoption of software-defined networking (SDN) in response to changes in work and customer behaviour caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report published today by Information Services Group (ISG), a global technology research and advisory firm.

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens Network – Software Defined Solutions and Services report for Australia finds enterprises here are deploying SDN technologies as part of broader digital transformations to increase their agility, flexibility and competitiveness. The pandemic has forced companies to quickly add applications and network resources, especially to enable remote work and meet supply chain and logistics challenges, and they are modernising their networks to help make this possible.

ISG ANZ partner and head Lisa Borden said, “Software-defined networking reduces the complexity and migration risks of digital transformation.

“Australian companies are finding that SDN technologies and services can both streamline network management and help them carry out new technology initiatives.”

The massive shift to working from home during the pandemic required enterprises to move more workloads, especially for videoconferencing and unified communications, to distributed networks and cloud-hosted resources, the report says. For some, greater reliance on the internet to connect with customers also increased network demand. To keep up, IT departments needed to rapidly add network capacity, which in turn led them to re-examine their network configurations and security.

It is likely many of the new employee and customer behaviours that arose during the pandemic will continue after lockdowns are phased out, ISG says. Many organisations will continue to support employees working from home and implement hybrid approaches that combine home and in-office work, leading to a permanent increase in reliance on software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WANs). Likewise, as the long-term trend from in-person to online shopping continues, SDN can help companies respond quickly and seamlessly to customer inquiries.

Though enterprises in Australia have accelerated SDN deployments during the pandemic, many have been carrying out network transformations over the past four years to lay the foundation for new technologies such as edge computing, artificial intelligence-based solutions, rapid hot-spot provisioning and intent-based networks, according to ISG. SDN technologies are also making it possible for companies to manage entire WANs from a single pane of glass and apply policy-based management services with rules based on service-level agreements and key performance indicators.

The report evaluates the capabilities of 50 providers across six quadrants: Managed (SD) WAN Services, SDN Transformation Services (Consulting & Implementation), SD-WAN Equipment and Service Suppliers (DIY), Technology and Service Suppliers (Core – 4G/5G), Edge Technologies and Services, and Enterprise 5G Solutions.

The report names Infosys, Telstra and Wipro as Leaders in all six quadrants and Orange Business Services and Tech Mahindra as Leaders in five quadrants each. Cisco and HPE Aruba are named as Leaders in three quadrants and Nexion and NTT in two quadrants each. The report names Cato Networks, Data#3, Datacom, Dicker Data, IBM, Juniper Networks, Macquarie Telecom, Optus, Tata Communications, Verizon, VMware (Velocloud) and Vocus as Leaders in one quadrant each.

In addition, Apcela, Coevolve, Empired, Lumen, TCS, Versa Networks and Vodafone are named as Rising Stars—companies with a “promising portfolio” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition—in one quadrant each.

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Chris Coughlan

A versatile technology executive with extensive experience in most disciplines and technologies in the Information and Communications Technologies sector. Roles have encompassed general management, product management, business development, sales management, industry marketing, operations management, research and development, business case development, market research and forecasting, regulatory, strategy management, solution development, major project construction, process design and management, technology and management consulting, and engineering.

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