Is AIOps Paving a New Path for SD-WAN Solutions?

January 30, 2024

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are reshaping the tech world, and network infrastructure optimization is no exception.

Optimizing an organization’s network involves improving the performance, efficiency, and dependability of its network resources to ensure an optimal user experience. 

When it comes to managing network infrastructure, one of the go-to tools is SD-WAN. However, traditional SD-WAN solutions depend on manual configurations, which give rise to challenges.

That's where AIOps, an innovative solution for automating IT operations, steps in. However, it's not just about automation; it’s about adding AI to network management.

So, here's the million-dollar question: Can blending AIOps and SD-WAN revamp corporate networks, boost app performance, and save organizations some dollars? Let's dive in and find out!     

Devising an effective networking strategy with AIOps-powered SD-WAN

AIOps enables companies to gain practical insights from the substantial data generated by SD-WAN. Organizations can look into network activity patterns, identify the applications used more often, and assess performance metrics. This data on network operations can help devise an effective network strategy. 

Let’s have a closer look at the value propositions of an SD-WAN-AIOps integration.

Proactively detecting network abnormalities

Legacy SD-WAN solutions fail to identify network hiccups ahead of time, often requiring IT squads to take corrective action post disruptions. 

Here's where AIOps comes into play.

They use the information extracted from SD-WAN systems and autonomously resolve issues without human intervention. In other words, AIOps tools utilize predictive analytics to forecast future events or outcomes related to network operations. This makes the whole system run smoother and more reliably.

So, instead of wasting time and scrambling to fix things after a glitch, why not tap into predictive analytics with AIOps?

For instance, a company’s historical data may show that optimizing network resources for a cloud-hosted CRM system improves the experience for remote users. This insight comes from analyzing past data, which revealed suboptimal performance during peak usage times. 

Machine learning algorithms can use this historical data to make predictions and proactively improve the performance of critical applications. This approach helps make necessary adjustments before potential network incidents catch the IT team off guard.

Verifying the effectiveness of network modifications

By combining AIOps and SD-WAN, enterprise IT teams gain a significant advantage in proactively managing their network environment.

AIOps tools harness its machine-learning capabilities to establish network performance benchmarks. Organizations can easily monitor whether their network adjustments are delivering the desired results.

As modifications are made—optimizing routing paths, adjusting the quality of service (QoS) settings, or enhancing security protocols—AIOps tools continuously monitor network performance in real time. 

Additionally, it can whip up a report comparing the performance of the SD-WAN solution before and after implementing changes, providing insights into how well the tool performs post-adjustments. 

By analyzing performance metrics such as throughput, latency, packet loss, and application performance, AIOps platforms can assess the impact of changes on the SD-WAN solution’s performance and functionality.

Overcoming cybersecurity threats

Businesses often deal with a range of network security threats like unauthorized access, phishing attacks, monitoring gaps, third-party risks, and insider threats. 

Now, SD-WAN solutions are pretty versatile in tackling these issues. However, for an added layer of security, organizations can consider incorporating AIOps into their network strategy.

Intelligent networks help in future-proofing the organization with AI-driven SD-WAN analytics, which act as investigators for its network. The data can be used to connect the dots between various events and uncover any suspicious activity within the corporate network. It can also evaluate the root causes behind network disruptions and streamline operational processes for improved efficiency. 

With AIOps as part of its network defense strategy, a business can reinforce its digital security measures against cyber threats.

Together with SD-WAN, AIOps provides a proactive approach to solve network issues. AIOps uses predictive analytics to anticipate network trends, bottlenecks, and security threats. This allows network administrators to take preemptive network fixes and upgrades before network issues impact users.”

Tian Lin, Sr. Research Analyst, G2

G2 data shows enterprise users prefer AIOps while smaller businesses prefer SD-WAN

The data below shows the distribution of reviews for SD-WAN solutions and AIOps tools on G2 based on reviewers' company segments. 

As highlighted in the graph, the majority of users for SD-WAN solutions come from the mid-market segment, while enterprise companies comprise the smallest user base for this solution. In contrast, AIOps tools are primarily used by enterprises, highlighting the value proposition that enterprise companies find in these tools.

AIOps tools enhance their digital transformation initiatives by applying AI, ML, DevOps, and data analytics to derive meaningful insights from unprocessed data. This leads to real-time data-based decisions and efficient management.

There is no doubt that enterprises prefer to remain at the forefront of digital transformation compared to smaller organizations. This is because they have fewer resource constraints and a more adaptable organizational structure. Their scale and size necessitate a greater focus on digital transformation to stay competitive, innovate, and effectively manage complexity.

The current trend of enterprises prioritizing AIOps over SD-WAN suggests the potential for increased integration of AIOps with SD-WAN. As companies continue to invest in AI and digital transformation, they have started to recognize the benefits of combining AI-driven operations with SD-WAN to enhance network management and performance. 

This synergy between AIOps and SD-WAN is gradually becoming a key strategy for companies seeking efficient, cost-effective, and agile network solutions in an increasingly digital world.

Paving the way for expanded network architecture optimization opportunities

As organizations continue to adopt cloud-based applications and undertake digital transformation initiatives, the role of SD-WAN becomes increasingly critical in enhancing wide area network (WAN) connectivity for businesses with multiple branch locations.

This is especially important in light of the challenges highlighted in Cisco's 2023 Global Networking Trends Report, where 41% of networking professionals identify securing user access to applications across multiple clouds as the top challenge, and 37% prioritize gaining end-to-end visibility into network performance and security.

In response to these challenges, companies should consider how combining SD-WAN and AIOps can help improve network security, enhance user experiences, and monitor complex multi-cloud environments.

Learn more about SD-WAN, along with its features, benefits, and challenges.

Edited by Jigmee Bhutia 

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Is AIOps Paving a New Path for SD-WAN Solutions? The integration of AIOps within SD-WAN solutions resolves network issues, optimizes performance, and enhances security through intelligent automation.
Anindita Sengupta Anindita is a Senior Research Analyst at G2 specializing in cloud technologies, CAD & PLM software, and web hosting services. With over five years of experience in market research, Anindita has a proven track record of tracking, analyzing, sizing, and forecasting the industrial printer and B2B software markets. Her passion for technology and staying up-to-date with the latest software trends makes her an invaluable asset to B2B buyers and sellers of software. When she's not immersed in market research, Anindita loves to read and explore new destinations, constantly fueling her curiosity and creativity.