Report: SD-WAN, edge remain top networking considerations
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

It’s safe to say that many 2020 enterprise networking priorities have been upended as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. But once the dust settles on the impromptu, quarantine-motivated digital transformations enterprise IT recently undertook, teams will need to reexamine many of the larger-scale IT projects that were on their plate before global events took the wheel.

Network World’s recently published 2020 State of the Network report unpacked which tech priorities topped the list for enterprise IT teams this year, with many long-simmering network initiatives (SD-WAN, 5G adoption, etc.) continuing to rise in importance in the eyes of economic stakeholders.

But rather than derailing these initiatives, the network “stress test” that the pandemic introduced for many enterprises may have actually helped accelerate certain network initiatives into high gear.

SD-WAN, for instance, had already won over a wealth of the 268 IT executives and management personnel who took part in the survey: 58 percent of respondents said SD-WAN can improve bandwidth efficiency, while 55 percent indicated new SD-WAN deployments will expand connectivity options. The survey also found that the increased use of containers and cloud-based applications that need access from the edge will also promote the use of SD-WAN technologies.

As many companies found out at the beginning of their quarantines, cloud applications are going to be essential to keeping businesses operating in an increasingly decentralized future. Tech like SD-WAN is one of many networking methods that can help enterprise teams intelligently deliver their business-critical applications to end users.

As a testament to this, the State of the Network survey found that 44 percent of organizations are currently piloting or using SD-WAN, while another 28 percent have it on their radar in 2020.

“The growth of SD-WAN is a broad-based trend that is driven largely by the enterprise desire to optimize cloud connectivity for remote sites,” Rohit Mehra, vice president, network infrastructure at IDC, told Network World.

However, while SD-WAN may help teams optimize their network capacity and tech resources, they’ll need to employ additional solutions to ensure that they’re actually getting the best bang for their buck out of their SD-WAN deployment. IT teams will need visibility beyond the edge of the WAN, to SaaS and cloud apps for instance, which is where most SD-WAN solutions’ monitoring capabilities are limited. Without a local perspective into how users at remote sites are experiencing their applications and the network, IT can’t truly assure performance or address issues before they impact workers.

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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: network performance monitoring , network monitoring , network management , enterprise network , enterprise IT , edge computing , edge , WAN , SD WAN , network world