SD-WAN infrastructure market to hit $4.5bn by 2022, says IDC

The software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) market continues to grow rapidly – and IDC is predicting the overall infrastructure market will be worth $4.5 billion (£3.53bn) by 2022.

The figure, which appears in the analyst firm’s latest SD-WAN Infrastructure Forecast, takes into account the significant uptick in SD-WAN investment, with infrastructure revenues going up 83.3% in 2017 to reach $833 million.

Another report, IDC’s Market Share – the first from the company for this category – sees Cisco and VMware at the top of the tree. The analysis notes the recent M&A activity around the market, with Cisco acquiring Viptela and VMware buying VeloCloud last year. The analysis includes both hardware and software used in SD-WAN deployments.

IDC defines the technology as ‘an architecture that leverages a hybrid WAN using at least two or more connection types.’ This can include MPLS, broadband internet, 3G, 4G, and more.

“The emergence of SD-WAN technology has been one of the fastest industry transformations we have seen in years,” said Rohit Mehra, IDC vice president of network infrastructure. “Organisations of all sizes are modernising their wide area networks to provide improved user experience for a range of cloud-enabled applications.

“Incumbent networking vendors have quickly realigned their routing and WAN optimisation portfolios to take on the growing cadre of startups in this market,” added Mehra. “Enabled by a rapid uptake across the service provider domain, SD-WAN infrastructure will continue to grow rapidly in the coming years, providing a beachhead for other software-defined networking and security functions in the enterprise branch.”

Previous research from IHS Markit in April found that enterprises were getting their heads turned by the benefits of SD-WAN as they focus on more complex cloud deployments. According to the North America-based study, three quarters (74%) of organisations polled had conducted SD-WAN lab trials in 2017, with many of these planned to move into live production this year.

Regular watchers of the industry would have seen this expansion coming, however. Writing for this publication in November, Steve Brar, director of solutions marketing at Riverbed Technology, the rise of SD-WAN has forced IT teams to rethink their entire networks.

“SD-WAN has proven invaluable to companies with large numbers of users spread across many sites who are accessing cloud-based applications,” Brar wrote. “With SD-WAN, these organisations are now able to centrally orchestrate and manage direct connections from geographically dispersed locations to the cloud. They can define and instantly apply policies that govern security and performance across the network using one management console.”

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