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More SD-WAN Adoption, More Data on a Changing Marketplace

By Brianna BoudreauFeb 24, 2020

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SD-WAN has rapidly gained momentum among enterprise customers and the service has moved into a new phase of adoption.

In previous years, WAN managers were evaluating the promise of the technology itself. But today, many already have—or are in the process of—selecting a vendor and rolling out SD-WAN across their global network.

As such, they face a new set of issues in procuring and operating the network.

For those still in the supplier selection phase, the long list of vendors and managed service providers offering SD-WAN can be difficult to compare. Their challenge is deciding which supplier meets individual network requirements and ensures the best value for their investment. Those that already have, or are currently, deploying the technology are facing the challenges associated with implementation and new daily operations. 

Our 2020 update of the SD-WAN Research Service provides an overview of the market and evaluates how enterprise network operators can use SD-WAN to optimize performance and cost. It includes insight from WAN managers on service adoption based on our WAN Manager Survey and recent WAN Summit events. 

Today I wanted to share several key findings from our updated analysis. These fast facts paint a picture of what the SD-WAN market looks like in 2020. And for more research like this, get in touch with our team about getting a subscription to this service.

SD-WAN Adoption

As if we needed even more data to demonstrate interest in SD-WAN, we can show that the number of enterprises deploying SD-WAN has rapidly increased. In 2019 at the WAN Summit London, 22% of end-user poll respondents had already implemented SD-WAN on at least part of their network. In 2016? Only 3% of end-user attendees had. 

In 2019 at the WAN Summit London, 22% of end-user poll respondents had already implemented SD-WAN on at least part of their network. In 2016? Only 3% of end-user attendees had. 

Nevertheless, many enterprises are still evaluating SD-WAN options. Forty-two percent and 40% of respondents indicated they were in the process of selecting a supplier at the 2019 London and Singapore WAN Summit conferences. 

SD-WAN Suppliers

Until this point, independent SD-WAN vendors have dominated the market. In part because they were the only available option. But also because early adopters of the service were willing to take more of a DIY approach.

When we launched the SD-WAN Research Service in 2017, just 11 telcos had announced partnerships with SD-WAN suppliers to offer the service. In our 2020 report, we feature profiles of over 70 managed SD-WAN providers. 

Most managed, network-based service offerings arise from partnerships with other SD-WAN suppliers, although some have developed their own proprietary SD-WAN technology. In 2020, several SD-WAN vendors have emerged as the most-cited technology partners. Cisco Viptela, VMWare (VeloCloud), Cisco Meraki, Nuage Networks, Versa Networks, Silver Peak, Fortinet, Riverbed, InfoVista, and Juniper Networks round out the top 10.

Security

Security features continue to rank among the top features prioritized by WAN managers in SD-WAN supplier selection.

Most SD-WAN solutions include a few basic features: end-to-end encryption/encrypted tunnels, traditional firewall, network monitor, and identity access and management. But many providers offer a number of additional services that can be layered on top. 

One of the most common questions we see is whether to opt for an on-premise or cloud-based approach to security.

One of the most common questions we see is whether to opt for an on-premise or cloud-based approach to security. Both have their pros and cons and the answer actually may be a mix of both across your network depending on site.

Pricing

SD-WAN prices have not followed the same downward trajectory as network connectivity services.

In fact, a majority of SD-WAN vendors reported no significant change in price between 2018 and 2019. 

Another factor for enterprise customers to consider is the price implication of opting for a managed SD-WAN service. While NRC charges for managed SD-WAN services are comparable to unmanaged SD-WAN, recurring charges are much higher, usually about twice the price. 


 

SD-WAN Research

Brianna Boudreau

Brianna Boudreau

Senior Analyst Brianna Boudreau joined TeleGeography in 2008. She specializes in pricing and market analysis for wholesale and enterprise network services with a regional focus on Asia and Oceania. While at TeleGeography, Brianna has helped develop and launch several new lines of research, including our Cloud and WAN Infrastructure service and the SD-WAN Research Service.

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