One in five companies implement initial SD-WAN projects

One in five of global companies has implemented an initial software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) technology project with almost half (48%) investigating them in a more limited form, such as a proof of concept at some sites, according to research commissioned by Teneo, the specialist integrator of next-generation technology. 

The survey, carried out by Sapio Research, questioned 200 senior IT and networking managers (100 in the US and 100 in the UK) at companies with worldwide operations, with revenues ranging from ?100 million ($127 million) to ?30 billion ($38 billion) in size.

Researchers also found that just under one third of interviewees (32%) has yet to examine SD-WAN’s potential, although 27% say they might do so at some point in the future.

When senior IT professionals were asked why they were considering SD-WAN, the most common reason was the increasing complexity of network infrastructure and performance tasks (cited by 36% of interviewees), closely followed by the need to cut network costs (34%) and the need for better management ofnetwork infrastructures (also 34%).

Increasing pressure on both company resources and budgets as IT teams look after more complex network infrastructures is driving companies to examine SD-WAN’s potential.

Exactly half of companies questioned say that deploying and managingnetworking infrastructure is time-consuming. Interviewees estimate that these upkeep tasks take up 36% of their overall IT budget. One third of the survey (33%) admit that they had used ‘as a Service’ models from external providers to keep on top of maintenance tasks.

Researchers also found that companies are shrewdly blending connectivity options to get necessary bandwidth: nearly four in ten (38%) of interviewees want to add more MPLS, 22% want more Internet connectivity, and 20% want to add more Internet and MPLS combined. Under one in five (17%) said their needs were satisfied.

Researchers also found that corporate IT teams are considering a range of SD-WAN providers.

Global networking vendors were the most likely choice of partner (39%), while 24% want a telecoms provider and 24% regard a management consultancy as the preferred supplier.

Small numbers of IT executives are looking for niche players for help: 8% of interviewees are looking for a specialist SD-WAN vendor, 3% are seeking a specialist integrator of SD-WAN and another 3% say they will rely on multiple partners, suggesting that there are still many views on how to deploy these technologies.

Marc Sollars, CTO of Teneo, said: “Network managers are looking at SD-WAN strategies to run multiple networking environments in standardised ways – whether the underlying motivation is greater simplicity, cost efficiency or transforming critical applications’ performance across their company’s operations.”

“Many firms are clearly putting a toe in the water on SD-WAN, or doing a proof of concept, but it’s still very hard to say when this test phase will start to translate into enterprise-level implementations. In many ways, the broad range of choice that SD-WAN brings is what’s causing companies to hesitate over their decisions.”

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