The year 2020 will always be known as the year of the COVID-19, but it also accelerated the digital transformation of the enterprises. Remote working and the accelerated digitalization led to the strong uptake of Software-Defined – Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) this year.
SD-WAN has played a vital role in the digitization of the enterprise’s networks. They have emerged as an alternative to the traditional WAN, which is inefficient, complex, and costly to operate and maintain. Further, it is also unable to meet an organization’s evolving needs with the digitization of business processes and the growing adoption of cloud, mobile, and big data.
SD-WAN allows organizations to address these challenges and enables businesses to digitize their operations and processes. It is also needed to support the application migration from an enterprise data center to a dynamic hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environment. There is a greater need to transform the WAN because data centers have started using new approaches like virtualization, containers, and cloud. WAN is the link between the data centers and the branch, so it needs to evolve to support the new technology at data centers and rising data consumption at the branch.
The SD-WAN infrastructure and services revenue will see a compound Annual Growth Rate of 69.6% to touch $8.05 billion in 2021, according to recent research by International Data Corporation (IDC). On the other hand, Omdia’s study says that the SD-WAN revenue will touch $4.8 billion in 2024.
The coming year will witness remarkable growth in the adoption of SD-WAN. The most significant driver of SD-WAN is the growing digital transformation, which increases network workloads and increases its end-to-end importance to business operations. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the traditional centralized data center.
Another crucial factor driving the growth of SD-WAN is the rise of public cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. The traditional MPLS-based WAN is not suited for this environment. Increasingly, the enterprises are leveraging SD-WAN to provide dynamic connectivity optimization and path-selection in a policy-driven, centrally manageable distributed network architecture.
SD-WAN will also benefit from the increased adoption of Software-defined networking throughout the enterprise. As virtualization, cloud management, and SDN become part of the enterprise’ networks, SD-WAN will gain from this paradigm shift.
In fact, SD-WAN will be the enabler of multi-cloud deployment. The organizations are shifting to the cloud, making the traditional WAN redundant which is not able to handle the change in traffic flow.
As the small and medium enterprises expand across several locations, they will start to consider SD-WAN over conventional WAN solutions. It is easy to see why? SD-WAN is more cost-effective when compared with Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) approach. Further, it is more reliable and effective. SD-WAN is also more secure since it comes with encryption.
Besides, unlike traditional WAN, SD-WAN enables centralized management of the enterprise network. SMEs will be able to use SD-WAN to deploy and connect sites instantly with real-time visibility into the network performance and utilization of network resources.
There is little doubt that SD-WAN offers massive improvement when compared with traditional technologies. The benefits of SD-WAN include cost-effective delivery of business applications, the capability to meet an organization’s evolving needs, optimizing SaaS and cloud-based services, and enabling automation. It also helps in bringing down network complexity, enhancing network reliability and effectiveness. These advantages are the key driving factors for the strong uptake of the SD-WAN solutions over the last few years.
Even so, the industry faces the challenge of the lack of any SD-WAN protocol standard. This potentially hinders the adoption of this technology. The coming year is likely to see some development on this front. SD-WAN allows enterprises to improve network agility, reliability leading to enhanced network performance. 2021 promises to be an exciting year for SD-WAN.
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