SD-WAN adoption to transform enterprise networks

Newly released reports from IDC and Dell’Oro Group show significant growth in the software-defined WAN market, reflecting demand for scalability, performance and control to power digital transformation and cloud-enabled applications.


SD-WAN promises to dramatically impact enterprise networking (in a good way) — bringing with it the benefits of scalability, performance and control, while ridding us of bandwidth restrictions.

Thanks to its virtual nature, which abstracts the underlying network connections, software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) can simplify your IT operations, even manage multiple types of connections from MPLS to broadband.

This means you can deploy network functions quickly and easily, even across distributed branch offices. And, depending on how it’s deployed, it has the potential to boost network security with end-to-end encryption using IPsec.

That’s why more IT pros are turning to SD-WAN for everything from managing remote networks to connecting cloud resources. In fact, the speed at which companies are adopting SD-WAN is surprising even to industry analysts.

While the market is still in its infancy, it’s expected to see significant growth through 2022. That’s according to IDC’s SD-WAN Infrastructure Forecast, released last month, which predicts this segment of the networking market will grow at a 40.4 per cent compound annual growth rate through 2022, reaching US$4.5 billion.

IDC goes on to say that the emergence of SD-WAN technology has been one of the fastest industry transformations seen in years, as organizations of all sizes modernize their WANs — in part, for cloud-enabled applications, but also for DX.

“To fully succeed in realizing their digital transformation objectives, enterprises must modernize and transform their network infrastructure,” said Brad Casemore, research VP for datacenter networks at IDC, in the report summary.

“Nowhere is this truer than on the WAN, which is critical to the productivity of employees, the satisfaction of customers, and the execution of transactions at branch offices and remote sites,” he continued. “We have seen striking growth already in SD-WAN infrastructure, and there is more to come, driven by the increasingly sophisticated requirements of customers and the continuing innovation of vendors.”

Those increasingly sophisticated requirements include SaaS and IaaS services. SD-WAN can be used in those instances as a way of “intelligently automating how application traffic is delivered to branch sites,” as we move away from traditional WAN architectures. The exponential demand for bandwidth and increasing network complexity are continuing to drive momentum for SD-WAN.

This data is in line with a recent report from Dell’Oro Group, which predicts the sale of SD-WAN technologies — solutions comprised of software and networking hardware technologies that will help enterprises adapt their WANs for digital services — will grow at a CAGR of 35 per cent over the next five years, with sales of SD-WAN software to grow at almost double the rate of hardware.

A fully managed solution can provide converged voice, video and data via a private network overlay, with the security, speed, performance and reliability demanded by the market — and lay a foundation for other software-defined networking functions in the months ahead.

Image: nadla/iStock

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