For Enterprises and Service Providers, SD-WAN Advantages Outweigh Challenges

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. 


In her role as Senior Marketing Writer at Accedian, Mae blogs, manages social media strategy, and produces a variety of collateral focused on thought leadership around telecom industry news and trends. She has more than 15 years of journalism and marketing experience, covering business-to-business technology, including telecom, for a variety of organizations including and Ziff Davis. Mae holds a B.A. in communications from Thomas Edison State College.

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  • Acronym Guide

    327 Terms, Page 1 of 82


    Second Generation
    A cellular telecom network that uses second-generation wireless technology. Such networks digitally encrypt phone conversations, and allow data services including SMS text messages.


    Third Generation
    A cellular network that uses third-generation wireless technology based on standards that support wireless voice telephony, mobile and fixed internet access, video calls, and mobile TV. Such networks are capable of data transfer rates of at least 200 Kbps and as fast as 21 Mbps.


    Third Generation Partnership Project
    International collaboration among telecommunications associations, with the purpose of developing and maintaining the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) specification for 3G mobile networks.


    Fourth Generation
    A cellular network that uses fourth generation wireless technology to deliver mobile broadband internet access in addition to voice and text messaging. Two synonymous 4G systems are commercially deployed: Mobile WiMAX an Long Term Evolution (LTE). LTE is the predominant system in the U.S.

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