According to a market study by security vendor Cato Networks, there will be a 200 percent year-over-year increase in the adoption rate of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) systems among global enterprises in the next 12 months. Cato used the study to tout its security portfolio for SD-WAN and also its Cato Cloud. But the survey of 350 IT professionals contained some interesting information about SD-WAN in general.
For example, 19 percent of respondents said their companies plan to deploy the technology in the next 12 months, while 10 percent already have SD-WAN deployed.
However, these numbers don’t necessarily indicate that SD-WAN deployments will be sustained; 47 percent of respondents indicated no current plans to deploy SD-WAN. Most of the respondents that are holding off are doing so for reasons related to market maturity — they lack knowledge of the technology or simply feel they have no use for it.
Even though many enterprises have already, or plan to deploy SD-WAN, many organizations say they continue to invest in traditional MPLS overlay.
Among the respondents that already have SD-WAN deployed, 62 percent said that their MPLS investment has either increased or remained the same, forcing enterprises to keep an Internet and MPLS-based infrastructure. Many respondents who are planning to deploy SD-WAN cite reducing reliance on MPLS and improving cloud performance as top priorities in deploying the technology.
The fact that MPLS doesn’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon sets the stage for a large number of the deployments SD-WAN is currently seeing — hybrid.
“The persistence of MPLS points to an underlying challenge for many SD-WANs. IT teams require a predictable transport to meet their SLAs to the business. This is particularly true for real-time applications such as voice and business-critical services. An Internet backbone is too unpredictable, particularly across long distances or between Internet regions, for these use cases,” the study said.
“As such, enterprises end up retaining an SLA-backed backbone along with the deployment of SD-WANs. MPLS, of course, is the SLA-backed backbone that’s known to enterprises, but MPLS is hardly the only choice,” the report said.