Forward Enterprise ranks highest for technical capabilities among top 13 vendors

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2023 GigaOm Radar for Network Validation finds that Forward Networks offers the most robust network validation features and capabilities among the industry's top 13 vendors. GigaOm ranked Forward as exceptional across several key criteria, including end-to-end validation, compliance verification, security verification, hybrid multicloud support and network visualization, among others.

The 2023 GigaOm Radar analyzes 13 vendors' network validation offerings and provides a forward-looking assessment over a 12-to-18-month window. Forward Networks is ranked an "Outperformer" for supporting "a broad range of vendor devices with sophisticated validation and automated remediation capabilities."

Among its strengths, the report cites, "Scaling to over 50,000 network infrastructure devices and complex public cloud deployments, Forward Enterprise's digital twin allows network and security engineers to search the network like a database, trace all possible traffic flows, visualize on-premises and cloud Layer 2, Layer 3, Layer 4, and Layer 7 networks, predict network behavior before pushing changes live, perform forensic analysis, and accelerate troubleshooting."

"We applaud Forward Networks for their network validation capabilities and for the advancements they plan to make in this area over the coming months," said Ivan McPhee, senior industry analyst, GigaOm. "Based on our thorough assessment, Forward remains the top leader and contender in network validation."

Forward Enterprise delivers a digital twin of the network, by collecting state and configuration data across all network devices and cloud deployments (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform). This data is then used to create an always accurate topology (on-prem and multi-cloud), calculate all possible paths within the network, prove compliance, and make network configuration and behavior searchable and verifiable.

"Network validation is critical for ensuring reliability, security, compliance and optimization. It's imperative that enterprises identify the right solution to meet the needs of their environment," said David Erickson, CEO and co-founder, Forward Networks. "We appreciate GigaOm's deep analysis of the most promising solutions in this space and are proud to be ranked as an Outperformer for the second consecutive year."

For more information about the GigaOm Radar Report for Network Validation, visit https://www.forwardnetworks.com/gigaom-radar-for-network-validation/.

Sometimes as a network engineer, you may feel like you're walking through a carnival where the barker shouts, "Step right up, ladies and gentlemen," promising something never seen before, only to find a poorly constructed paper mache replica of the impossible (or in our world, vaporware). Eventually, you become jaded and ignore the shouts until someone you trust tells you to take a look. (TLDR - check out the GigaOm Network Validation Radar and Key Criteria Report)

Some may believe network validation technology is too good to be true. In an era where network complexity is increasing exponentially, it’s impossible for the human mind to make sense of the environment and ensure it’s performing as intended. The average enterprise network includes multiple clouds, tens of thousands of networking devices, and us running billions of lines of configuration. The only thing constant in the modern network is change. Simple changes such as adding a rack, upgrading the operating system (OS), or adding a border gateway protocol (BGP) peer or virtual local area network (VLAN) can cause an outage with significant business repercussions. 

Even in this era of unprecedented complexity, many enterprise IT shops are approaching network validation manually. According to GigaOm, manual validation is “error-prone, operationally tedious, and ineffective,” leaving network teams uncertain if the network is in policy and functioning as designed.

GigaOm states that enterprises need a modern approach to change management and ensuring compliance across the entire compute estate. Network validation offers an automated approach that can accelerate the pace of change while reducing risk by injecting consistency and discipline. Network and security operations teams need a single network source of truth to ensure that the network is performing as intended, including:

GigaOm recommends automating as much of the process as possible with pre-change and post-change network validation to assess whether the network is performing as desired before and after each change. To that end, they’ve written a key criteria report that provides detailed recommendations on evaluating network validation software. They’ve broken down the process to help ensure enterprises are successful. Beginning by ensuring that the validation project is scoped correctly, done at the right time, and uses the right approach for the network or use case. They then break down the most common features by category (Table Stakes, Key Criteria, Emergent Technologies) to help enterprises select the best technology for their needs.

The corresponding Radar Report provides an overview of notable network validation vendors, their use cases, and supported features.

Source: GigaOm 2022
+++ Exceptional: Outstanding focus and execution
++ Capable: Good but with room for improvement
+ Limited: Lacking in execution and use cases
— Not applicable or absent

Evaluating new technology and determining its value to your organization takes time and effort. That’s why we’re making the GigaOm Network Validation Key Criteria and Network Validation Radar Reports available to you free of charge. As a respected third-party research firm, GigaOm has advised IT leaders in every industry and frequently evaluates vendor technology. The reports they’ve written offer an objective source of data and starting point for anyone looking to adopt network validation.

Read the reports now.

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