Top SD-WAN Trends

By Michael Wood
Vice President of Marketing, VeloCloud
February 21, 2017

How Does Your WAN Strategy Address These Key Analyst-Identified Trends?

Pondering the future of your WAN has become a taxing activity. The accelerating digital business transformation has rendered legacy WAN architectures suboptimal—that’s the word preceding obsolete in the dictionary. Everyone talks about SD-WANs and industry analysts have crystallized these six key trends with metrics and predictions. See how they fit into your WAN strategy.

1. The Cloud is The Network

Gartner reports that 30-50% of Large Enterprise traffic is shifting to the cloud, changing traffic flows that stress legacy WANs. Top-SD-WAN-Trends-Infographic-1Lee Doyle, Principal Analyst at Doyle Research, details this trend in the white paper The Cloud is the Network.  Users are increasingly mobile, applications are increasingly cloud-based. Getting bandwidth-hungry traffic between these freely-distributed points—cost-effectively, and with performance, predictability, quality—is not a model readily delivered by rigid private lines and backhauling traffic through a few static data centers. It calls for the Internet’s—and the cloud’s—easy and global any-to-any connectivity, and a cloud-delivered SD-WAN delivers the compulsory security, performance and reliability for this cloud network.

2. Enterprise Applications Move to the Cloud

IDC reports that 80% of new applications will be deployed in the cloud by 2030. Top-Trends-Infographic-2A Gartner summary report sees more than $1 trillion in IT spending affected by the shift-to-the-cloud over the next five years. While not all of this is application expenditure, the trend is clear. ZK Research reports in an SD-WAN Architecture webinar that by 2019 $1 of every $4 spent on applications is expected to be in the cloud. All of this means a sound WAN strategy demands that the goal of traffic and bandwidth planning must be increasingly directed to optimize cloud application access.

3. Bandwidth Requirements Rise

Branches, on average, can expect to see a 20% bandwidth increase per year according to an IDC study. Top-Trends-Infographic-3SDxCentral reports that 89% of enterprises name bandwidth as their biggest branch office challenge. The Cisco Visual Network Index (VNI) reports that between 2015 to 2020, global IP traffic is expected to nearly triple at a CAGR of 22%. The explosion of IoT devices is one reason for this, but it is also compounded by Trend #2—applications that used to be hosted locally are now hosted in the cloud, in addition to the trend of ever-increasing video and content services that form part of the daily application diet of many branch office users.

4. Infrastructure Refresh is Coming

Top-Trends-Infographic-4Gartner reports that by 2018 40% of WAN edge infrastructure refresh initiatives is expected to comprise virtual CPE or SD-WAN. The pace of change in technology and traffic is accelerating, while costs and budgets remain limited or declining. Cost-savings by avoiding function-specific hardware at every branch location provides major budget relief. With an SD-WAN the CPE can be run in a virtual environment, and can be easily rolled-out, upgraded or changed. SD-WAN NFV capabilities enable security and other traditional per-branch-hardware to be replaced with virtually delivered services. At the same time NFV also delivers increased security tools and flexibility for mobile users, IoT and cloud applications.

5. Bring Your Own Link

Top-Trends-Infographic-5Doyle Research reports an increasing trend towards transport independence. The bandwidth increases to support IoT and cloud applications cause havoc in an MPLS access link strategy. Slow to upgrade, rigid in structure and QoS, and much too expensive to address expected growth. The Cisco Visual Network Index (VNI) reports that global IP traffic will triple from 72.5 exabytes/month in 2015 to 194.4 in 2020. The only sane way to address this growth is to use the most cost-effective access link type possible per branch—and multiples thereof where necessary—to be able to fit into any kind of rational budget. SD-WAN transport independence is imperative to achieve this—virtual links of aggregate bandwidth and flexible NVF QoS policies, comprised of any combination of physical links from any combination of providers.

6. Security is Top-of-Mind

Top-Trends-Infographic-6ZK Research reports in an SD-WAN Architecture webinar that 71% of respondents rated Improving Security as their top IT concern. Doyle research similarly cites security as the number one IT concern in their Scaling Large and Multinational Enterprise SD-WAN Deployments report. User mobility, BYOD, the explosion of IoT devices, and increased use of Internet links to access cloud applications all conspire to increase pressure on ensuring network security. Virtual network security services, cloud security providers, and the capability of an SD-WAN architecture to establish automatic VPNs where, and when, necessary are elements of an indispensable strategy to address this.

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