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Happy Birthday, SD-WAN

By Andrew Lerner | May 01, 2016 | 0 Comments



It has been just about 2 years since the SDWAN movement started. While many vendors claim to have been doing SDWAN since before it was cool, May/June 2014 really marks the birth of the technology (or at least SDWAN terminology), when Viptela, CloudGenix and VeloCloud came out of stealth over a 6 week period.

So here’s a quick check-in as SD-WAN turns 2…First things first, awareness and adoption are skyrocketing. While there is no shortage of hype, marketecture and vendorspeak, SDWAN adoption is real. We are seeing organizations with large numbers of distributed locations in North America and Europe (especially retail and financials) adopting and evaluating SD-WAN. This isn’t just your typical forward-lean early adopters, these are mainstream and even technology laggards looking at SDWAN.  Also, It isn’t only for large enterprise, as we see interest from midmarket and SMB organizations (side note:  some vendors cater specifically to the SMB like Bigleaf Networks). So, SD-WAN is trending upwards and I don’t anticipate any slowdown following a heavy dosage of SD-WAN content at this weeks’ Interop conference in Vegas.

Overall, we estimate there are 500+ paying enterprise SDWAN customers and north of 25,000 branches deployed using true SDWAN (and this is being conservative). Carriers are hot into SDWAN also, and are looking to sling SDWAN boxes wrapped in managed network services (today), while simultaneously weaving SDWAN software into their NFV strategy (tomm). Overall the drivers are simple:  people hate their WANs and the SDWAN ROI is really compelling. Along these lines, here are some polling results form our Data Center Conference:

Which Portion of Your Network Is the Most CriticalWhich Portion of Your Network Is the Most Expensive

While there has been some market consolidation (Riverbed/Ocedo and Cradlepoint/Pertino), the vendor landscape is overcrowded, with 25+ vendors affiliating their offerings with SDWAN. You can categorize them coming from roughly 3 camps:  router incumbents, pureplay startups and WAN specialists.  While there is no official SDWAN standard(s), we define it as meeting 4 key criteria (lightweight router replacement, dynamic and transport-agnostic path selection, dramatically simplified MANO, secure and integrated). In the meantime, if you’re considering this tech, we would recommend talking to one vendor in each of the 3 categories, checking on a few references, and taking a look at our published SDWAN research, which includes:

  • Market Guide for Software-Defined WAN: We evaluate the emerging SD-WAN market as well as a selection of representative vendors with commercially available SD-WAN solutions. Network managers and architects can use this research to create a shortlist of vendors to engage with when seeking an SD-WAN solution. Vendors we look at include Cisco, Citrix, Cloudgenix, Fatpipe, Nuage, Riverved/Ocedo, Silver Peak, Talari, VeloCloud, Versa, Viptela, Infovista, and Sonus.
  • Technology Overview for SD-WAN: SD-WAN is an emerging technology that offers several benefits compared with traditional, router-based WANs. Network decision makers can achieve cost savings, increased agility and simplification with an SD-WAN. This research defines SD-WAN and highlights its benefits, risks and alternatives.
  • Cool Vendors in Enterprise Networking, 2015 (Includes Viptela and CloudGenix)
  • Cool Vendors in Enterprise Networking, 2016 (Includes VeloCloud)

Regards and let the SDWANathon continue,


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