Cloud and drive for WAN efficiencies power move to SD-WAN
The requirements associated with cloud computing have already reverberated through data centre networking, with software-defined networking (SDN) arising as an architectural approach that provides the network with the agility and responsiveness that it lacked previously.
Now, the focus is turning to how the WAN can be optimised to accommodate the requirements of cloud applications and services. The emergence of SD-WAN is a relatively recent market development, preceded by the existence of hybrid WAN architectures. A typical hybrid WAN includes at least two WAN connections from each branch office, leveraging two or more different access technologies (MPLS, broadband Internet, 3G/4G, and others).
SD-WAN leverages hybrid WANs, but it includes a centralised, application-based policy controller; analytics for application and network visibility; a software overlay that abstracts underlying networks; and an optional SD-WAN forwarder (routing capability) that together provides intelligent path selection across WAN links. SD-WAN business benefits include cost-effective delivery of business applications, meeting the evolving operational requirements of the modern branch/remote site, optimising SAAS and cloud-based services, and improving branch IT efficiency through automation. This document provides a worldwide market forecast for SD-WAN products and services through 2020. Among the key findings are:
* SD-WAN has emerged as a significant architectural response to the need for increased WAN efficiencies in the enterprise and for optimising user experience across a plethora of public and private cloud applications (SaaS, UC&C, etc.).
* The worldwide SD-WAN market for infrastructure and services will exceed $6 billion in 2020. For the 2015-2020 period, IDC estimates that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for SD-WAN will be over 90%. As with existing WAN deployment models, SD-WAN technology rollouts will largely be orchestrated via enterprise networking vendors, integrators, and communications service providers (CSPs).
* From a segmentation standpoint, IDC sees four categories of products and services that form this emerging SD-WAN market landscape: WAN infrastructure (routing and WAN optimisation), SD-WAN control and overlay (SD-WAN application-based policy controllers and overlays and related analytics), CSP SD-WAN managed services, and cloud-managed SDWAN services, which can be provided by SD-WAN vendors, OTT cloud service providers, or managed service providers (MSPs).
* SD-WAN's growth will affect other WAN-related markets, including branch routing and WAN optimisation. The latter will be especially impacted, with WAN optimisation ultimately becoming a subset or secondary market to SD-WAN. IDC sees SD-WAN playing into the broader software-defined enterprise branch opportunity (e.g., cloud-managed CPE), in the longer term.