Today, SD-WAN is still a rising trend, but not quite mature yet. In our SDxCentral reader survey that covers SD-WAN implementation, most enterprises (69%) are not using SD-WAN services at this time, but of those that do, 70% have deployed a solution from Cisco (iWAN/Meraki/Viptela). Those who have SD-WAN services deployed today tend to use a mix of methods to secure their WAN – they manage their own firewall/security services (70%), use the services integrated in customer premise equipment (CPE) (70%), and leverage offerings from managed service providers (50%).
However, SD-WAN’s appeal is much broader due to the technology’s inherent benefits, particularly increased choice over WAN circuits, lower costs and higher reliability by being able to combine cheaper, less dependable elements like business broadband from multiple carriers into a robust logical connection. SD-WAN is favored by organizations of all sizes and across industries. It is particularly conducive to organizations with the following characteristics and IT strategies:
- The aggressive, strategic use of public cloud services whether by migrating enterprise applications to cloud infrastructure, using PaaS stacks and container services for new, cloud-native business applications or replacing undifferentiated, commodity on-premise software with SaaS equivalents.
- Highly distributed organizations with many remote locations and field offices and those needing temporary worksites for particular projects. These include retailers, consumer service providers like banks and insurance firms, industrials involved in resource extraction like mining and petroleum and construction companies and businesses with large field service operations.
- Growing organizations that need to rapidly add WAN capacity in response to demand without sacrificing enterprise-class redundancy and reliability and that can’t afford the time and expense of provisioning traditional enterprise WAN circuits like MPLS.
When evaluating products, whether for company-owned hardware and software or service provider subscriptions, use our list of core SD-WAN attributes to develop a shortlist and benchmark offerings. Beware of SD-WAN-washing by vendors repackaging legacy offerings. Unless a product segregates network control from data transport, it’s doubtful whether it can provide other key SD-WAN attributes around scalability and flexibility.