SD-WAN adoption has reached an inflection point, according to Aryaka’s 2019 State of the WAN report, which found more than half of enterprises were poised to make the switch from tradition WAN networks to SD-WAN in the next few years.
The SD-WAN vendor’s third annual report surveyed 795 IT and network practitioners working for companiesranging in size from less than 1,000 employees to more than 10,000.
According to the report, enterprises are demanding more of their WANs than ever before with nearly a third operating more than 20 branch offices around the globe and roughly half leveraging five or more cloud providers or software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Of those surveyed, 15% had more than 1,000 applications deployed.
“Many of these [applications] are moving, over time, into the cloud,” said David Ginsberg, VP of product and solutions marketing at Aryaka, in an interview with SDxCentral.
Aryaka found that enterprises faced a wide array of challenges associated with their WAN deployments including 40% reporting cost, 35% maintenance and management complexity, and 24% access speeds to cloud services and SaaS applications.
The survey found slow application performance was responsible for poor user experiences for 45% of branch offices and 36% of remote and mobile users.
However, the report found little consensus as to where these performance issues stemmed from with those surveyed roughly split between the last mile, middle mile, and the cloud. According to Aryaka, the takeaway is the need for better visibility across the entire network.
Ginsburg said 29% of those respondents identified managing multiple service providers as part of their WAN offering as difficult. He said this lends itself to what Aryaka sees an increasing need for a managed SD-WAN solution that eliminates the need to work with multiple service providers to solve a problem or implement a change.
Performance challenges also extended to universal communication as a service (UCaaS). The survey found 41% of respondents experienced challenges with poor voice and video quality, 31% reported trouble with laggy connections, and 28% experienced set up and maintenance issues. Overall Aryaka found that UCaaS remains highly intolerant of poorly optimized WANs.
“UCaaS is becoming increasingly critical for global organizations,” Ginsburg said.“They have a lot of problems in the performance of UCaaS over the WAN and that has to be at the top of mind and addressed with any WAN transformation.”
According to the report, SD-WAN adoption continues to build. The survey found 48% of respondents were in the process of gathering information in preparation for a deployment while 17% were actively evaluating vendors.
Just 12% of those surveyed were in the process of deploying an SD-WAN while 19% reported having completed their deployment.
Of those evaluating SD-WAN solutions, Aryaka found cloud and SaaS connectivity, advanced security, WAN optimization and application acceleration, and the ability to replace MPLS were among the highest-ranked features.
Meanwhile, respondents said the high cost of deployment, complexity, and a skills gap were among the biggest barriers to SD-WAN adoption.
A Divided Philosophy
The report did find some geographic divisions across the metrics.
Ginsburg said in particular, the report found that enterprises in North America preferred a do-it-yourself approach while in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) enterprises were more open to a managed approach.
The same divide was evident when it came to security. Aryaka found North American companies preferred a single-vendor approach to security while in EMEA companies tended to choose multi-vendor security services.
A Manageable Solution?
What Aryaka, a managed SD-WAN vendor, sees as the solution comes as little surprise — managed SD-WAN.
Ginsburg said the data shows that many enterprises going down this path of digital transformation don’t want to spend their effort creating this dedicated cloud connectivity or understanding where the handoffs are.
“SD-WAN is really moving into a more productive phase with large scale deployments,” he said.
No Surprises Here
Aryaka’s State of the WAN report comes hot on the heels of IDC’s SD-WAN infrastructure forecast in July and IHS Markit’s SD-WAN ranking.
Aryaka’s report reinforces many of the trends in the SD-WAN space including an emphasis on security and managed SD-WAN products.
However, unlike IDC or IHS, which offered independent reports alongside industry rankings, Aryaka, which ranked third in the latter’s report refrained from comparing itself to its peers.