For the above use cases, and many more emerging ones, there several options for obtaining SD-WAN service across the spectrum from fully managed, cloud/SaaS services to entirely DIY using company-owned and operated equipment and software:
- Direct sales and self-managed software and equipment slots SD-WAN into an organization’s overall network services portfolio and is typically used by large enterprises with the resources and expertise to master new technology and manage distributed network infrastructure. Many network equipment vendors, some of whom have evolved legacy WAN optimization products and others founded as pure-play SD-WAN specialists, serve this market.
- Traditional network service providers, both major carriers like AT&T and Verizon, and business broadband companies like Comcast, offer managed SD-WAN services that work with their existing MPLS, carrier Ethernet and LTE services. Just as in the broadband market where a consumer might rent a cable modem and wireless router from an ISP, in this model the carrier procures, manages and supports the software and equipment as part of a subscription service.
- IT channel partners, VARs and other horizontal IT service providers are incorporating SD-WAN into their portfolio as an adjunct to other network provisioning and support services. These providers appeal to smaller organizations that lack internal IT depth and outsource much of their infrastructure, software and client endpoint support to providers that often specialize in particular industries or vertical markets like healthcare, retail or hospitality.
Managed SD-WAN Market Opportunities
For service providers (and other managed providers), SD-WAN represents a new opportunity. In our SDxCentral survey, providing value-added opportunities for new services and lowering operational costs of WAN services are the top two drivers service providers cite for rolling out new vCPE or SD-WAN solutions. 33% of respondents said they are already selling SD-WAN solutions; 33% expect to offer them in 3-6 months.
And when asked what they believe enterprise customers want in an SD-WAN solution, 89% of service providers said “automated provisioning of services,” while 52% said “direct path to enterprise and cloud applications” and “dynamic multi-path optimization.”
74% of service providers feel it is “important” or “very important” to implement their SD-WAN solution when creating an SDN/NFV infrastructure. The top three functions they expect a SD-WAN solution to deliver include “zero-touch provisioning” (63%), “service-chaining” (44%), and WAN optimization (41%). 56% expect they will be building these solutions with 3rd party vendors to bring these capabilities to market. When probed on which vendors they would consider using/working with, Cisco, Juniper, Nuage Networks, Huawei, Silver Peak and VeloCloud were mentioned most frequently, with Cisco mentioned by 67% of respondents.