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  • World SD-WAN Summit, Berlin 2019 – Recap

    World SD-WAN Summit, Berlin 2019 – Recap

    Date: 12.01.2020


    World SD-WAN Summit organised by Luxatia International took place on the 5th and 6th of December 2019. The summit was hosted in Berlin in great Riu Plaza venue. Thanks to organizer, I was invited as a speaker to give my presentation in Day 2 of the event, titled: “Changing User Experience. Customer WAN to SD-WAN transformation“. In this recap i decided to focus on the most meaningful presentations from my personal standpoint.

    Speakers list and SD-WAN Summit agenda

    World SD-WAN Summit


    1. Day One of World SD-WAN Summit, Berlin 2019.

    At the beginning, conference chairman Sorrel Slaymaker, Consulting Analyst from TechVision Research gave the opening speech describing SD-WAN context and the aim of the Summit. After the speed networking time and morning coffee the two sponsorship slots were given by CITIC Telecom and Riverbed.

    Sorrel Slaymaker, Lentine Bark and auditorium

    World SD-WAN Summit Keynote Berlin


    After the first slots, Lentine Bark, IT Programme Manager from Friesland Campina gave her presentation “The Challenges of migrating a global enterprise hybrid WAN to SD-WAN.” Lentine discussed the SD-WAN project path of her company, the issues they faced and business drivers for the change the WAN to SD-WAN. Very valuable voice of the end customer that shows importance and the advantages of SD-WAN and also vendor selection process.


    Fouaz Bouguerra, Tata Communications

    Cloud is SDWAN enabler

    One of the most interesting sessions of the Day 1 was the understanding how SD-WAN and Cloud are changing  WAN Security given by Fouaz Bouguerra, Senior Manager WAN from Tata Communications. Fouaz discussed the tendency of moving from the centralized security model to the distributed model when talking about SD-WAN and Cloud environments and the challenges that this model faces. He also touched two important aspects of SD-WAN security: secured overlay (native) and the need for the local Internet breakouts because of the nature of SaaS and IaaS environments. When talking about Local Internet breakout, there is also need of next-generation firewalls which are also distributed. Fouaz placed the context of vCPE and NVF (Network Virtualization Function) on prem and also in the cloud environment.


    2. Panel discussion closed the official part of Day 1

    The end of day 1 (the official part) was the panel discussion. Panelists sitting in front, represented CITIC, Riverbed, Pearson, Tata and Unitedgrids. The discussion was titled What’s Next for SD-WAN and panelists discussed the SD-WAN importance and the key enablers for software-defined Wide Area Networks. Panelists also disputed about the “revolutionary” idea of SDWAN and some of them agreed that this is kind of “old wine in a new bottle” other didn’t agree convincing that this is really something new. The truth is that it always depends on how we look into the subject. There are some scenarios where SD-WAN idea suits very well and there some that it is not big step ahead for end customers. Moreover, there are “group of interests” that force SD-WAN idea, like for instance vendors and there are groups who are not happy to push the SD-WAN to their customers (a good example are Service Providers having still MPLS-based services). But what most agree, the key enabler for SD-WAN is a public cloud journey.


    World SD-WAN Summit – Panel discussion

    World SD-WAN Summit panel discussion

    After the official part ended, all participants moved to the wine testing course then to the networking dinner. There were lots of unofficial talks on SD-WAN and not only. That was the time of integration and meeting new people from the whole European region and different sides of the IT market.


    The wine course and networking dinner

    World SD-WAN Summit networking dinner

    3. Day 2 of World SD-WAN Summit, Berlin 2019.

    On Day 2 there were few interesting presentations where one of the most interesting was the Simon’s Lodge from Pearson, “Building a Self-Healing network”. Simon was talking about their environment in Pearson corporation, their challenges and how to implement SD-WAN to make self-healing network of such scale. He convinced that research & development is the key to deliver self-healing network with success. Interesting was that Simon was the one of very few voices of customers. Most of presentations were also interesting but they were kind of marketing or specific vision of particular providers that the vision was aligned with their business model.


    Simon Lodge from Pearson. “Building a Self-Healing network”

    World SD-WAN Summit Simon Lodge Pearson


    “SD-WAN from provider’s perspective: lessons drawn so far – future outlook.” was a presentation of Axel Wegat from T-Systems. Axel presented the insight from SP where in his opinion, SD-WAN transformation has lagged analysts expectations so far. He also showed T-Systems experience of customers transformation and that there is no “One size fits all” approach. He tried to convince the importance and need for still MPLS based underlay services in specific scenarios.

    One of the sessions in second part of Day 2 was Marko’s Kojić “Making the right choice: fully managed service or a network-only service?”. That was example of presentation that I was waiting for and I wish they would be more such “real world – no marketing”. Marko discussed the MPLS and SD-WAN approach within enterprise WAN from the Network Engineer point of view who works for end customer. While MPLS and SD-WAN “comparison” is not really fortunate statement, the context was the comparison of MPLS-based WAN vs Internet-based SD-WAN in their particular case. He gave example of new corporate site setup and gave the example of MPLS last mile delivery time vs SD-WAN Internet based or LTE-based underaly delivery time and it’s pros for business. He also touched the benefits of fully-managed service like SD-WAN in daily operations, deployment and troubleshooting.

    Marko Kojić, Kuehne+Nagel

    World SD-WAN Summit Kuehne Nagel


    After Friday’s lunch time that was a time of my session: “Changing User Experience. Customer WAN to SD-WAN transformation“. I was surprised that despite of Friday afternoon and after lunch the auditorium was full and moreover, people seemed to be very interested in what I presented. My idea was to give the real-world insight from the WAN to SD-WAN transformation project for one of our customers (the description and case study doc from our project is available to download here). By the way, I was the first who talked about real technical issues and challenges that must be overcome in brownfield designs. The examples were routing redistribution, routing loops avoidance, OSPF troubleshooting, seamless migrations and more. I also presented the way of thinking, convincing and designing for the whole SD-WAN transformation that brought our customer to the point of user experience, IT operations efficiency increase and WAN costs reduction.


    Marcin Bialy , Grandmetric

    World SD-WAN Summit Marcin Bialy


    To sum up, the World SD-WAN Summit in Berlin was great opportunity to meet people that touch SDWAN subjects like Grandmetric does. The conference was also a chance to share standpoints from different sides of the IT market: vendors, managed services companies, integrators, customers and service providers. As for some, Software-Defined WAN is kind of refreshed stack of technologies, the same people agree that Public Cloud and ease of management are the key enablers for this technology.


    Marcin Bialy

    Marcin Biały is Network and Security Architect with over 14 years of experience, with Service Provider and Enterprise networking background. He used to work for large service providers, global vendors and integration services companies as Network Architect, Leading Architect and Techincal Solution Manager positions. He designed, implemented and supported dozens large scale projects and infrastructure migrations, solved hundreds of tickets and spent hours with CLI and GUI of many flavors. Marcin is also holding industry recognizable certificates such as CCNP, CCNA, CCSI #35269, FCNSP #7207, FCNSA and more.

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