SD-WAN’s Complexity, Lack of Fast Payouts Not Stunting Growth, Says New Survey
Cato Networks finds increased complexity, but resulting network agility continues to drive deployments — to the tune of a projected 200% year-on-year increase.
By Lori Mikuls | Cloud & Enterprise Technology
Like so many emerging technology initiatives, SD-WAN’s early wins were driven by the promise of cost savings paired with performance improvements. But factors including continued spend on MPLS and increased operational complexity were a wake-up call to IT.
Still, these haven’t dissuaded companies looking to shed legacy WAN technologies. In fact, Cato Networks’ recent survey of 353 enterprise IT professionals, “SD-WAN in 2017: Growth, Investment and Concerns,” shows SD-WAN is poised for a 200 percent year-on-year increase.
According to the survey, while only 41 percent of companies with current SD-WAN deployments are realizing cost reductions, 83 percent are experiencing increased network agility and flexibility — a huge business advantage that seemingly outweighs the increased complexity inherent in managing both physical and virtual networks.
And, not everyone has bought in to the “MPLS killer” hype, however, for a few reasons.
Some of the survey’s key findings:
Heavy Investment in Networking
Half of respondents say their networking budgets will increase over the next 12 to 24 months. Investment in SD-WAN is also picking up, with nearly 20 percent actively planning an SD-WAN deployment in the next year; an additional 30 percent are considering. Ten percent of respondents have an active deployment.
MPLS? Here to Stay
MPLS and SD-WAN are increasingly viewed as complementary, not competitive, technologies. Most, 62 percent, of survey respondents revealed they will increase or maintain current investments in MPLS despite implementing SD-WAN. This finding highlights a challenge faced by SD-WAN: Stable, predictable data transport is crucial for businesses, and the Internet backbone suffers from unpredictability.
Agility is Paramount
Organizations are prioritizing their networking investments based on flexibility over cost: 74 percent cited reduced deployment and reconfiguration times as critical to their decisions, and 83 percent found increased networking agility and flexibility.
It’s Not Just Connectivity
Respondents report that they are interested in a broad range of SD-WAN features, including SLA-backed guarantees for network latency (54 percent), next-generation firewalls (72 percent) and anti-malware (60 percent). That interest in firewalls and anti-malware highlight an increased need for tighter security and an expectation that data protection will be a priority. In fact, 51 percent and 34 percent of respondents, respectively, thought next generation firewalls and anti-malware were already incorporated in SD-WAN.