Large network vendors such as Cisco, HPE, and VMware, as well as more specialized vendors such as Versa and Fortinet, offer different types of SD-WAN for different business needs.
Even in the midst of the pandemic, SD-WAN revenue grew 18.5% from 2019-2020 and is expected to grow another 26.5% this year, according to IDC.
In the research firm’s forthcoming Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure Forecast, IDC projects compound annual growth of 18.9% through 2025, when total revenues will surpass $7 billion.
Like all things, SD-WAN top vendors come in all shapes and sizes. With this in mind, we’re going to profile the best SD-WAN vendors on the market today. We’re going to discuss their core competencies and illustrate an overview of their brand strategies from a business perspective. By understanding these factors, you can better understand how they arrive at their attractive pricing for consumers.
SD-WAN buyer’s guide: Key questions to ask vendors
“We expected a significant slowdown due to the pandemic, pushing the growth rate into at least single digits,” said Brandon Butler, senior research analyst, enterprise networks at IDC, but the rise of cloud computing and the need for enterprises to connect to the cloud -based resources, including video conferencing applications, offset the slowdown caused by a new remote workforce.
This is a testament to the versatility of the technology, which is typically deployed as a lower-cost alternative to pure MPLS networks and can offer greater flexibility, efficiency and resilience.
Vendors, from startups to the largest network providers, have recognized this potential and have been investing in SD-WAN technology for years. Due to their diverse nature, their products offer different levels of innovation and completeness given the different resources they have. The larger companies with deeper pockets were able to buy out some of the smaller ones, leading to significant consolidation.
Here’s a look at how the SD-WAN landscape got to its current state and who the biggest players are as well as some notable smaller ones.
SD-WAN spending spree
When HPE acquired SD-WAN vendor Silver Peak for $925 million in September 2020 and Juniper 128 Technology for $450 million in October 2020, these were just the latest in a series of high-profile acquisitions that transformed the SD-WAN -Consolidate the market.
Cisco (Viptela), VMware (VeloCloud), Oracle (Talari Networks), and Palo Alto Networks (CloudGenix) have all adopted SD-WAN startups to deliver the cloud-centric, secure network services businesses demand. This consolidation means customers can purchase SD-WAN services from the same providers of their trusted network infrastructure, which can translate to tighter integration and additional capabilities.
From a connectivity perspective, SD-WAN helps increase network efficiency, but to simplify IT management burdens for distributed organizations, more functions need to be consolidated and eventually automated, Butler said.
This means that not only is networking and security coming together, but organizations are also striving to centralize visibility, management, analytics, policy enforcement, and other related functions. “The LAN and WAN are already beginning to converge,” said Butler. “As this trend continues, enterprises will seek to simplify network functions from the LAN to the WAN to the edge.”
These drivers give the major network providers an advantage for certain customers. For example, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) introduces Silver Peak technology under the umbrella of Aruba, an HPE company, creating a unified solution for WLAN, LAN, SD-WAN and security.
According to David Hughes, Chief Product and Technology Officer, a major benefit of integrating Silver Peak’s SD-WAN with Aruba’s Edge Services platform was the ability to provide the ability for how it integrates networking, routing, Wi-Fi, Security, Edge, and other related services on Aruba.
But a comprehensive network strategy that integrates SD-WAN isn’t right for all organizations.
BP turns to SD-WAN startup for edge efficiency
As part of an enterprise-wide digital transformation effort, energy giant BP was looking for ways to reduce connectivity costs to offices around the world while increasing security and centralizing network management, according to Alaa Nasser, chief architect, BP’s Network Services.
“We believe that SD-WAN will be the standard for enterprise connectivity in the future. With this in mind, BP wanted an SD-WAN-native solution, no retrofitting of existing infrastructures, which meant SD-WAN startups remained strong competitors.
BP also wanted a tool that would allow it to reduce related network functions such as security, visibility and management while providing a clear roadmap for newer use cases. This included providing connectivity for the expanding enterprise edge, which for BP often includes industrial environments and other constrained environments.
After evaluating multiple options, including consolidated solutions from leading incumbents, BP selected startup Versa’s Secure SD-WAN solution. So far, the rollout has cut costs, Nasser said.
“We’ve successfully reduced costs, but we’re also benefiting from cost avoidance, especially as we begin to move into more constrained industrial use cases,” he said. For example, in traditional office environments, Versa SD-WAN’s firewall capabilities can be used to augment other security tools, but in industrial environments, Versa’s security capabilities alone may be sufficient.
Besides Versa, other well-funded startups that are still successfully competing in the SD-WAN market include Aryaka with $186 million in support and Cato Networks with $332 million.
SD-WAN providers (https://sharequalityposts.com/top-sd-wan-providers-and-vendors-in-network-market-2022) a solution that allows businesses to connect their endpoints, with the goal of providing better business outcomes. This can mean faster access to applications and greater remote access to corporate data. The second part of the article looked at how each vendor got there.