What drives CIOs to consider SD-WAN?

Businesses of all sizes today, find themselves in the middle of one of the biggest and most disruptive technology revolutions. Technologies related to Cloud, SaaS, and Mobility are set to revamp enterprise IT, and how organizations work with data and applications.

This changing trend is noticed with companies moving from hosting mission-critical and real-time applications on-premises to adopting Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) models. The performance of these applications has a tremendous impact on productivity and business execution. And as a result, the role of global network connectivity has undergone massive transformation.

It is becoming increasingly clear to CIOs and IT managers that their legacy networks are not suited to the demands of this new ‘marketplace’, many are stepping up their game by turning to Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WANs).

Surfing the Network Transformation Wave

According to a recent report by IDC, SD-WAN revenues are estimated to exceed $6 billion in 2020, pegging a growth rate of over 90 % over the 2015-2020 forecast period.  This exponential growth comes from the industry’s need for SD-WAN and the opportunities it opens up for businesses – predicated on the growth of cloud, need for simplified branch office networks, and the business imperative of reducing MPLS costs.

This view is also supported by a recent survey on Trends in Data Center Networking by research firm ESG that highlights the need for a comprehensive solution that is cost effective, secure, and able to address high availability as the main reason driving CIOs and IT managers to consider adopting SD-WAN based connectivity solutions.

Within Asia Pacific, the potential for SD-WAN is immense as Internet quality and speeds have improved significantly within the region, and IT leaders are keen to reduce their dependence on MPLS. CIOs in APAC are focusing on agility, cost effectiveness, security, and application performance as their main priorities to improve effectiveness of their global networks.

So the question to ask here is ‘What is the most compelling reason for your organization to adopt or consider SD-WAN?’

The answer is…there are several of them.

Here are the top four crucial reasons why CIOs should consider implementing SD-WAN for their companies/ enterprises:

Agility in Deployment: Legacy network technologies like MPLS are extremely rigid and slow to deploy. Setting up a new site can take as many as 60-120 days in many regions of the world, considerably impacting business expansion initiatives. Companies that want to implement SD-WAN solutions should consider one that can deploy global network connectivity solution in the shortest time possible.

Cost Reduction: SD-WAN helps businesses save costs compared to MPLS in terms of bandwidth savings. Also, having a global SD-WAN that is fully managed will save the CIOs and their enterprise a significant amount on network maintenance and management costs, freeing IT resources to focus on more business-critical activities.

Network Security: With mission-critical applications moving outside the corporate firewall all the way to the cloud, organizations need to ensure their networks are not only secure, but also adhere to the different compliance standards across geographies. SD-WANs, where the provider owns the network, can offer a multi-layer security model—providing enterprise-grade network security, physical security and access control.

Application Performance: While all the drivers mentioned above are strong indicators of shifting IT priorities, the fundamental role of the network is to deliver reliable and fast application performance. Most SD-WANs today fall short in this area because of their reliance on the public Internet (in the absence of MPLS). The fact that SD-WAN-based hybrid WAN architectures need to rely on MPLS for performance, results in these solutions inheriting the legacy network shortfalls, such as long deployment timelines, high cost, and lack of support for optimized cloud access. Without MPLS, conventional SD-WANs must depend on congested public networks that are prone to delivering frustratingly poor performance due to high packet loss and fluctuating latencies.

In the end, whether in the Cloud or on-premises, mission-critical or peripheral, the performance of your applications and ultimately your business is only as good as your network. While 2016 has certainly been the year where most enterprises have taken a step towards SD-WAN; the year ahead will determine which SD-WAN product is suited for your organization needs that focus on building a wide-area-network for modern enterprise requirements, helping CIOs around the world sleep easy.