According to testing of a small sample of SD-WAN products by NSS Labs, the areas of primary differentiation for SD-WAN products are quality of experience (QoE) for VoIP and video performance.
NSS Labs claims to be a well-known advisor to the cybersecurity industry. “We do both testing of cybersecurity products and research on trends in the industry,” said a spokesperson for the company. “We embarked on our test of SD-WAN products in response to strong interest from our enterprise customers and our research findings.”
Recently, NSS tested these products:
- Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series F80 v7.1.1
- Citrix Systems Inc. NetScaler SD-WAN 10.0.0.207
- Cradlepoint AER2200-600M v6.5.0
- FatPipe Networks MPVPN/SD-WAN v9.1.2
- Forcepoint NGFW 1101 vSMC 6.3.6, engine 18.104.22.16802
- Fortinet FortiGate 61E v6.0.1 GA build 5068
- Talari Networks Adaptive Private Networking (APN) Software vAPN 7.1
- Versa Networks FlexVNF v120
- VMware NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud vEdge version 3.2
The company said that testing showed there was a wide disparity in pricing and total cost of ownership as would be expected in a high-growth emerging market space. Total cost of ownership per Mb/s ranged from $5 to $496 with the average total cost of ownership per Mb/s at $134.
NSS Labs said that for its testing, QoE refers to the measure of satisfaction an enterprise experiences with a voice or video service. NSS Labs tested the nine SD-WAN products using a QoE scale ranging from 1 to 5 for VoIP and video. The company considers a QoE score below 3.5 for VoIP and video represents a significantly degraded voice call/video stream, out of a maximum achievable score of 4.41 and 4.53 respectively.
On a QoE scale of 1 to 5 for VoIP, with 3.4 being the minimum viable NSS Labs considers to meet the use case for VoIP, and with a theoretical maximum score of 4.41, the tested range was 2.49 to 4.38 with eight of the nine tested products scoring above the minimum of 3.4.
On a QoE scale of 1 to 5 for video, with 3.4 being the minimum viable NSS Labs considers to meet the use case for video, and with a theoretical maximum score of 4.53, the tested range was 1.10 to 4.47 with seven of the nine tested products scoring above the minimum of 3.4.
Asked why NSS chose the nine specific vendor products for its SD-WAN test, given that there are dozens of SD-WAN companies, the spokesperson said NSS Labs determines vendor inclusion in a group test based on market presence, enterprise and/or organization requests, and innovative technology/solution. “For this inaugural test, security effectiveness was evaluated in the products that offer security capabilities (ex: Fortinet, Forcepoint, Barracuda, Versa Networks) but it was not included in the final score,” she said.
Fortinet bragged today that it was “the only vendor with security capabilities to receive an SD-WAN recommended rating in the first NSS Labs software-defined wide area networking test report.”
And Talari issued a statement, saying “Talari’s SD-WAN offering was one of only three out of nine products tested to receive the coveted “recommended” rating.
VMware’s product also received a “recommended” rating from NSS Labs.
NSS Labs 2017 Survey
In 2017, NSS Labs conducted a cloud security survey. It received responses from 205 full-time U.S. enterprise IT security professionals representing 41 U.S. industries with a median IT security budget of $1 million to $10 million.
Of the enterprises surveyed, 87.8 percent said that their organization has or will adopt SD-WAN in the next 12 months. Of the enterprises currently deploying SD-WAN, 52.9 percent plan to expand their use of the technology. NSS Labs research indicates that the SD-WAN market will continue to evolve, and both SD-WAN and security will become integral components of the modern WAN edge architecture. “We expect security to become a critical buying criteria for companies selecting SD-WAN products,” states the company.
IDC also issued some SD-WAN findings today. The research firm said SD-WAN infrastructure revenues increased 83.3 percent in 2017 to reach $833 million. And IDC predicted that the SD-WAN infrastructure market will grow at a 40.4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2017 to 2022 to reach $4.5 billion, according to its latest SD-WAN Infrastructure Forecast.
IDC found that Cisco holds the largest share of the SD-WAN infrastructure market, fueled by its extensive routing portfolio that is used in SD-WAN deployments, as well as its Meraki offering and its August 2017 acquisition of Viptela.
This week, Cisco said the Viptela software can now run on all ISR and ASR routers, as well as ENCS 5000 routers, that are four years old or younger.
VMware, which in December 2017 purchased VeloCloud, holds the second largest market share in the SD-WAN infrastructure market, followed by Silver Peak, Riverbed, Aryaka, Nokia, and Versa, according to IDC.