In 2018, Citrix predicted that SD-WAN would be the backbone of hybrid-cloud migration. What a prediction it was! SD-WAN is a strong alternative to MPLS, and companies are fast embracing it as the new WAN service to public clouds.

The pace is only going to accelerate in the year ahead, as rapid advancements are in store that will lead to even tighter integrations of SD-WAN into cloud solutions. But unlike 2018, when products and solutions dominated, services will be king in 2019.

I am SaaS: Enterprise transition to SaaS will continue unabated in light of information assurance and flexibility of application integrations. More enterprise apps and data will move to the cloud, never to return to on-premises. Enterprises will focus on data access, resilience of networks, services for branch, work-from-home and mobile users to simplify SaaS delivery, and a great user experience for SaaS, delivered via SD-WAN.

Look ma, I grew up … Oh no, I grew up! As SaaS-based services take over IT-managed applications, they will be tasked to maintain availability levels at or above on-premises. Small outages will not be tolerated vis-a-vis their expanded blast radius. IT leaders will expect to see service availability metrics by the minute, not by the month, by end user zip code, not country. SaaS leaders will seek new tools to address these expectations, with repercussions and further transformation of the APM, CDN, and traffic-management services offerings

Cloud is might: As we enter the second decade of cloud (yes, AWS is 12 years old!), the calculus of infrastructure costs will give way to the convenience, flexibility, and richness of cloud services, including an accelerated adoption of microservices that redefine the game of elastic compute. Cloud connectivity based on decades-old networking technologies will give way to completely automated cloud-to-enterprise connectivity made possible by SD-WAN.

Services are king: IT-think is vastly different across large enterprises. In countries where IT labor is comparatively abundant, services stay in house. In contrast, in high-cost locales, consuming IT services is the norm. This trend will continue in 2019, more so in a potentially choppy macro economy that may be ahead. Look for more managed-service providers offering a one-stop shop of SD-WAN, VPN, security, workspace, and application-delivery services that cater to all but the highest end of the enterprise. Seamless integration of performance, security, and visibility will trump the bespoke construction of best-of-breed integrations for mid-market and beyond.

The future of networking is all about choice. And in 2019, an increasing number of companies will choose SD-WAN to change the game, engage their employees, and power a better way to work.