Solution Providers Pumped As SD-WAN Market Set To Soar

Although software-defined networking is capturing the headlines this year, software-defined wide area networking is set for a massive compound annual growth rate of 90 percent over the next four years, according to a new report from research firm IDC.

By 2020, the SD-WAN market will be a $6 billion industry, up significantly from $225 million in 2015. Networking solution providers are poised to pounce on this opportunity to deliver SD-WAN and the professional services tied to the technology.

"Are we seeing an increase in SD-WAN sales? Absolutely yes," said Dan Molina, CTO of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider that partners with SD-WAN vendor Silver Peak. "More customers are seeking it out and more customers are being more open and receptive when we bring this modern SD-WAN option to them."

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Molina said customers are adopting SD-WAN at a blistering pace due in part to the cost savings that comes from them no longer having to depend on "expensive" MPLS circuits. SD-WAN leverages cost-effective broadband connections while adding a layer of intelligence to keep the network secured and optimized for "private-line like" performance, he said.

IDC forecasts that SD-WAN revenue will start to ramp up strongly in 2016 and 2017 across a broad range of verticals due to the rise of cloud computing and the need for simplified virtual private network capabilities and lower MPLS costs.

In a recent survey of U.S. enterprises, nearly half said they're planning to consider migrating to SD-WAN over the next two years, according to IDC.

"We see a bright future for SD-WAN," said Molina.

Customers who adopt SD-WAN, compared to traditional router-based WANs or hybrid WAN architectures, typically have multiple branch offices using Software-as-a-Service applications and unified communications and collaboration services.

IDC's Rohit Mehra, vice president of Network Infrastructure, said SD-WANs leverage hybrid WANs, but also incorporate a centralized application-based policy controller, analytics for application and network visibility as well as a software overlay that abstracts underlying networks. He said it can be optimized to meet the requirements of cloud applications and services.

"As public and private cloud use continues to grow, WAN performance becomes critical," said Mehra in an email to CRN. "As enterprises move business processes to the cloud, there is a greater need to fully integrate cloud-sourced services into WAN environments to ensure workload/application performance, availability and security."

The vendor landscape is also rapidly evolving to meet the increasing demand. The space is becoming crowded with companies such as Silver Peak, Viptela, CloudGenix, Nuage Networks, Glue Networks, Talari Networks and VeloCloud all tussling to take market share.

SD-WAN startup VeloCloud recently raised $27 million in a funding round, bringing the total raised to nearly $50 million. The most recent round included funding from market competitor Cisco Systems, which also provides SD-WAN solutions. Application performance vendor Riverbed Technology recently acquired Germany-based Ocedo, who specializes in products designed for SD-WAN.

Vendors in this space are also starting to form strategic partnerships to enhance SD-WAN solutions. This week, Viptela unveiled a partnership with infrastructure management software vendor SevOne to provide unified network monitoring for SD-WANs by integrating platforms.