While many networking technologies are overhyped, that can’t be said of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), according to Andrew Lerner, Research VP at Gartner. In a recent blog post
, he noted that over the past three years, SD-WAN adoption has really taken off, with an estimated 6,000-plus paying customers and more than 4,000 production implementations.
SD-WAN offers benefits that include cost, performance, and availability, and has clear ROI when compared with alternatives, Lerner elaborated. But, of course, it’s not without downsides, such as functionality gaps, heterogeneous connectivity management issues, and continued dependence on hardware appliances.
Despite these challenges, the promise of SD-WAN—to connect users anywhere with applications anywhere, in an automated fashion (as Nuage Networks CEO and Founder Sunil Khandekar put in a recent Light Reading video
)—is too good to pass up, and is thus why the technology is being adopted by more and more enterprises and being offered by more and more service providers.
Enterprises adopting SD-WAN, Khandekar said in the video, are doing so out of need for speed and agility, to reduce operational costs, and create new revenue opportunities. To serve those needs, then, service providers must choose an SD-WAN solution that seamlessly integrates with existing systems and allows them to easily manage services and quickly detect faults.
As demand for SD-WAN continues to grow, competition is heating up between managed service providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs), said Current Analysis senior analyst Mike Fratto, in a recent blog post
. Each of these have their own approach to delivering SD-WAN services.
“Nearly every Tier 1 and Tier 2 MSP now has a managed SD-WAN service offering,” Fratto elaborated. “MSPs have an advantage because they already have the infrastructure and experience to run managed services, and when paired with a WAN service – their own or an aggregated service – they offer unique technology and pricing options resellers cannot easily meet.”
Resellers, on the other hand, “have an advantage in that they already supply other IT products and services to their customers, and a managed SD-WAN service is an easy on-ramp to a well-rounded managed service offering. However, establishing a reliable managed service is difficult, so resellers should look for SD-WAN vendors with managed services they can resell.”
The SD-WAN trends discussed above can be seen playing themselves out through the activities of service providers and vendors—for example, NTT’s claim
to have the first 100% software-define global network, and Nuage’s recent selection
by Italian service provider AscoTLC to deliver and manage its SD-WAN services.
How do you see SD-WAN market trends playing out over the next few years? Drop a comment below.