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Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is the second “software-defined” marketing attempt (after the original SDN) to dress a conglomerate of old technologies into shiny new clothes. Even Wikipedia article promotes some of the usual software-defined hype, quoting Network World claim that:

SD-WAN simplifies the management and operation of a WAN by decoupling the networking hardware from its control mechanism. This concept is similar to how software-defined networking implements virtualization technology to improve data center management and operation.

Is It Real?

Want to know how real those claims are? Start the journey with this series of myth-busting blog posts:

Does SD-WAN make sense? Sure:

Need More Details?

I covered the basics of SD-WAN in Choose the Optimal VPN Service and SDN Use Cases webinars.

Pradosh Mohapatra described the basics of SD-WAN and its typical components and architectures:

Want to know more about Cisco’s SD-WAN solution (formerly known as Viptela)? Enjoy David Peñaloza Seijas’ deep dive into its architecture and implementation details:

Real-Life SD-WAN

SD-WAN sounds great, but does it work as expected? Maybe not:

Is it secure? Some products seem to be nothing more than a bunch of open-source component glued together with clueless Python code:

Some service providers want to use SD-WAN to offer managed services. Not surprisingly, some people1 don’t find that a good idea:

Then there are some technical details vendors love to gloss over:

Does it work within a public cloud? Yeah, sort of… with a few challenges:

Want Even More?

Love marketing-related rants? Here are a few:

Last, but definitely not least, you might enjoy these (more esoteric) solutions:

Blog Posts I Forgot to Categorize

  1. Including those working for said service providers or their customers ↩︎

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are the next big hype in networking following Software-Defined Everything and Intent-Based Everything. Like with the previous hype bubbles it’s worth figuring out

  • How much of the hype is real (TL&DR: not much)?
  • Whether the technology is ready to be used in production networks (TL&DR: some of it)
  • How you could use the technology to make your life easier

How Real Is It?

Like with the previous hype tsunamis I’ll do my best to help you figure out the answers to the above questions with a hefty dose of skepticism and snark1, starting with:

I also decided to “kick the tires” and document my (often less-than-stellar) experience with the most-overhyped products:

AI/ML in Networking: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Javier Antich created a wonderful AI/ML in Networking in 2021. If you know nothing about AI/ML and wonder whether you should care about it, you MUST watch these videos from his webinar:

In 2023, Javier published a book covering the same set of topics in way more details. I would highly recommend you read it if you want to know more.

What Others Are Saying

I keep collecting interesting articles talking about AI in general and (lately) ChatGPT. I found these interesting enough to mention them in worth reading blog posts:

These are not bad either:

Finally, a few real-life uses of large language models:

  1. Please don’t blame me for pointing out the ever-lasting validity of Sturgeon’s law. Contrary to what some people think, I’m not trying hard to pick up dismal examples of AI failures, I’m just good at looking in the wrong places. Also, I’m too old to be wearing rosy glasses and drinking Kool-Aid. ↩︎

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