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28 Sep 2017

IDC Survey Finds Bandwidth Optimization, Consistent App Security, WAN Integration, and Improved Automation Are Driving Enterprise SD-WAN Deployments

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., September 28, 2017 – Software-defined networking has moved out to the enterprise branch, taking the next evolutionary step as SD-WAN – uniquely enabling enterprises to cost-effectively optimize their Cloud/SaaS applications – while providing a dynamic and secure WAN fabric for distributed enterprises. A special study from International Data Corporation (IDC) highlights results from an extensive worldwide SD-WAN survey and finds that "bandwidth optimization", "consistent application security", "integration with existing WANs", and "improved automation and self-provisioning" were the top four motivators identified by respondents considering SD-WAN adoption (36%, 31%, 28% and 28%, respectively). IDC believes this increased confidence in emerging WAN architectures, and the rapid embrace of SD-WAN, across enterprise and service providers will help drive the market to reach $8 billion in infrastructure and services by 2021.

The new study examines current and future enterprise plans for SD-WAN infrastructure and services, including their relationship to enterprise WAN connectivity, cloud/SaaS applications, WAN management and use cases, operational requirements, and the potential impact these will have on overall enterprise IT efficiency and on the business value of enterprises across a number of geographic and vertical markets.

"Given the affinity towards leveraging broadband for enhanced capacity across enterprise sites, in parallel with the proliferation of cloud-based applications and services, the enterprise WAN is being rapidly re-architected to cost-effectively deliver new, secure capabilities," said Rohit Mehra, vice president, Network Infrastructure. "Understanding and adapting current WAN network and security solutions across the emerging connectivity and application landscape is going to be a key ingredient for success as this market transforms in key geographies and across the service and solution provider domains."

Additional findings from the special study include the following:

  • Faster deployment, operational efficiency, reduced complexity for IT also scored high as motivational factors for enterprises considering SD-WAN deployments.
  • Key SD-WAN components include: WAN optimization; application and network security; application policy-based path selection; integrated routing; and application visibility.
  • Top SD-WAN use cases include: ability to simplify WAN infrastructure; use multiple WAN providers; and use broadband to off-load non-critical business apps.
  • While SD-WAN is being embraced across major geographies, its use cases and deployment scenarios across the top 2 IT markets – the United States and China – are quite a study in contrasts.

The emergence of SD-WAN over the last couple of years has paralleled the deployment of hybrid WAN architectures that have leveraged broadband, 4G/LTE, and other technologies. SD-WANs leverage hybrid WANs, but incorporate a centralized, application-based policy controller, analytics for application and network visibility and security, a software overlay that abstracts underlying networks, and an optional routing capability that together provides intelligent path selection across WAN links.

The IDC special study, Worldwide SD-WAN Survey Special Report 2017, covers the rapidly evolving market landscape for enterprise WANs. The survey provides a comprehensive view of end-user needs/priorities for SD-WAN as it pertains to network infrastructure and WAN services provided by vendors, communications service providers (SPs), and managed SPs. It's a global study reaching more than 1200 enterprises (mid-market to enterprise) in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Germany, Japan, China, India, and Australia/NZ.

To purchase this research, please contact your IDC account executive, or IDC Sales at 508-988-7988 or

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For more information, contact:

Michael Shirer

Rohit Mehra