WAN Challenges Are Overwhelming IT
by August 4, 2017

Filed under: Industry Insights, Networking Technology

A recent survey from Dimensional Research found that nearly all respondents are facing multiple WAN security and management challenges. Network complexity is the underlying challenge for most respondents, which they’re aware of, but not addressing. The top three challenges all involve supporting branch offices: Managing devices, mitigating security risks and deploying new solutions at branch offices. It’s not a surprise, considering that more than two-thirds of users are managing more than six devices at each branch, with 44% managing more than 10. And one-third of respondents don’t have proper security measures at each branch. Most are looking to SD-WAN to save the day: 80% would prefer an integrated SD-WAN and security product.

And on the SD-WAN front, the products in this market segment are selling at a good clip. A recent IDC forecast estimates that worldwide SD-WAN infrastructure and service revenue will grow nearly 70% to $8 billion in 2021. It’s a quick growth trajectory for a still fairly new technology. Driving the growth is “digital transformation,” the term for the wave of emerging technologies like big data and cloud. These new tools put a lot of pressure on aging networks like the WAN, and generally on the network performance across the organization. SD-WAN comes at the right time to help businesses trying to keep up with new workload needs, especially as SDN becomes more well-known and IT sees limitations in hybrid WAN.

Hyperscale data centers like Google’s are often admired by IT pros considering their own infrastructure. A recent ESG survey found that 66% of respondents want to emulate these hyperscale network designs in their own architecture. Most of the respondents’ businesses may not grow to the size of heavyweights like Google or AWS, but there are lots of interesting technologies becoming more available to non-giant businesses, like open source, microsegmentation and efficient power techniques. One Gartner estimate says that 40% of global enterprise CIOs by 2020 will have started down the path of webscaling with these technologies.

More on the changing infrastructure of today’s businesses: Colocation models are increasingly moving to be part of edge computing. Some companies are adopting hybrid cloud models with an edge component to keep up with increasing network performance needs—with the idea in this story that edge computing is part of a hybrid model. Managed service providers are one option for complex deployments that include remote or branch offices. Moving processing to those branch offices and outsourcing their management might be what saves IT a lot of headaches.