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Buyers think SD-WAN is too expensive and complicated

Building and maintaining an SD-WAN is perceived as a complicated endeavour, and the industry’s messages are not getting through, says a new report

Although software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) implementations are becoming more common in the wild as more enterprises get wise to its oft-stated benefits, concerns over a diverse range of challenges mean that barely one-fifth of businesses are evaluating SD-WAN for deployment, according to Aryaka’s third annual Global state of the WAN report.

Aryaka quizzed nearly 800 CIOs, IT and network managers, and other senior practitioners to compile its 2019 study, which showed that when it comes to SD-WAN implementation, 35% thought it would result in extra spending, 31% worried about lack of appropriate skillsets, 30% thought the technology was still too new, and 25% believed it would result in additional complexity, despite industry messaging that this is not necessarily the case.

Asked about any other barriers to SD-WAN adoption, 21% cited internal politics, 18% a lack of SLAs, 16% a lack of will in IT leadership, and 13% app performance concerns for remote locations globally. Just 19% did not think there were barriers to adoption.

With over 50% of respondents identifying complexity and the skills gap as their main concerns, Aryaka suggested there was an opportunity for buyers to align themselves better with the wider cloud-style consumption model associated with SD-WAN, and said its lower learning curve would address many of the perceived barriers.

“We are living in a complex multicloud and multi-SaaS application world,” said Aryaka’s CMO, Shashi Kiran. “As global enterprises continue to innovate by embracing new technologies and migrating to the cloud, they also face new challenges.

“Whether it’s an increasing number of global sites through expansion, poorly performing cloud-based applications, increasing costs or the time it takes to manage multiple vendors, many organisations are at an inflection point – transform the WAN now or risk falling behind and losing out to competitors.”

With traditional carriers and DIY WAN deployments generally ill-equipped to handle the agility needed for wider digital transformation, Aryaka talked up managed SD-WAN as a way to ease the transition into the SDN world.

It said opting to offload SD-WAN implementation and operation to a specialist would help address worries about advanced security, cloud migration, automation, and big data and analytics, which traditional and DIY deployments cannot always support.

Read more about SD-WAN

  • This SD-WAN vendor comparison chart is a useful starting point to get information about SD-WAN deployment options, pricing, cloud connectivity options and more.
  • With SD-WAN analytics, administrators can fine-tune their WAN connections and determine how well their network is performing.
  • Users can expect advancements in SD-WAN intent, usability and management, as vendors seek to improve their developer ecosystems, integration and multi-tenancy capabilities.

Aryaka said the benefits of fully-managed global SD-WAN solutions closely tracked overall IT priorities, which the study identified as cloud and SaaS connectivity, advanced security, WAN optimisation and application acceleration, and the phasing out of multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networks.

Erin Dunne, director of research services at Boston-based network analyst Vertical Systems Group, said her own research on migration to SD-WAN tallied with Aryaka’s findings.

“We are seeing more enterprises choose managed SD-WAN solutions focused on providing dynamic WAN connectivity to ensure optimal end-to-end performance for all types of business-critical applications,” she said.

Read more on Software-defined networking (SDN)

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