Seventy-four percent of medium-size to large enterprises participating in a survey by IHS Markit conducted SD-WAN lab trials last year. The survey found that many will move to production trials and live production this year.

“As companies shift a greater portion of their IT infrastructure into the cloud, and expand their physical presence to go after new markets or be closer to customers and partners, the need for reliable, secure and high-performance WAN and internet connectivity has never been greater,” Matthias Machowinski, the senior research director for enterprise networks at IHS Markit said in a press release. “However, companies don’t have unlimited budgets to fund growing WAN bandwidth consumption, which is why a majority are planning to deploy software-defined WAN in the next three years, to better control how their WANs are used.”

Drivers of SD-WAN Lab Trials
Respondents expect their WAN bandwidth usage to grow over 20 percent annually — data center usage is the highest, while branch offices are experiencing the highest growth, at nearly 30 percent per year.

Reflecting the significant demands placed on WANs, total WAN expenditures rose nearly 20 percent annually, to reach $300,000 per respondent in 2017. Seventy-one percent of respondents will use off-premises cloud service providers by 2018, which will become the top application strategy in 2018.

The selling point of SD-WANs is that they simplify and cut the cost of wide-area networking by reducing the use of expensive MPLS in favor of far cheaper broadband. The approach enables branch offices to reach the Internet directly, which both reduces costs and adds flexibility necessary to serve today’s highly mobile and decentralized workforce. The key is that the backhauling of Web traffic back and forth to a secure Web portal – which usually is located the corporate datacenter—is avoided in the new approach.

SD-WAN vendor Cato Networks said last month that the category will grow 200% year-year-year.

Image courtesy of flickr user Nan Palmero.