AI is no longer exclusively reserved for Hollywood movies and SF preachers. An exciting future awaits us, whether we like it or not.
While the title may be a bit pretentious, currently we live in what will be remembered as the beginning of an era in which machines can learn about themselves and their environment. The beginning of an era in which a human being does not have to be an ingredient of every recipe.
More and more SD-WAN networks (software-defined WAN networks) that use advanced algorithms for processing information are implemented with the goal – routers themselves making decisions without human factors. The aforementioned algorithms and related technologies are moving forward at a high speed. This speed is capable of disrupting the development plans of even the world’s largest IT companies.
Appropriate illustration of this hypothesis is the recent acquisition made by the world’s largest communication giant, Cisco Systems. They bought a do-it-yourself startup Viptela for $ 600 million. For Cisco this is a trifle, for the startup company is means big money. The fact speaks about the importance of this acquisition. When put into the technology context, it is possible that Viptela will slowly lead to the obsoleteness of Cisco’s till yesterday innovative solution for SD-WAN. The conclusion presents itself. The progress in the field of machines ‘ „self-learning” does not circumvent the computer network.
But let’s go back a bit and explain the idea behind the SD-WAN solution. Cisco has been trying for years to create a solution that will allow the user to really use backup links simultaneously with primary links. Additionally, the emphasis was on real-time performance monitoring and the ability of the network itself to respond to anomalies and problems by balancing traffic between links as needed. It must be acknowledged that they were the first to begin, but today there are many more versions of this technology – that of big players and of new companies such as Viptela.
The fundamental lack of Cisco’s version has been reflected throughout the complexity of the solution. In order to achieve the ultimate goal, the network administrator had to go through a lengthy router setting process, monitor regularly what is happening and possibly change some parameters as needed. It does, however, tackle the premise of the “Zero-Touch” solution, which stands in the subtitle of each SD-WAN document. Some authors cite this approach as “Minimal-Touch” and to be honest, until recently, none of the giants of the IT industry failed to do anything better.
In addition, it’s requiring certain series of routers to be used which in some situations may impede the greater use of this technology. If a user already has a set up WAN network with Cisco routers that works great but do not support this technology, replacing all of the equipment just because of the SD-WAN solution is not a real option.