The software-defined wide area network market is set to explode as software defined networking moves beyond the data centre as organisations seek to optimise their cloud strategies.
IDC, in its first forecast for the software defined wide area network (SD-WAN) market, estimates worldwide SD-WAN revenues for technology and services will exceed US$6 billion in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 90% over the 2015-2020 forecast period.
The research company says it believes SD-WAN revenue will start to ramp strongly this year and next, across a range of verticals.
It says the emergence of SD-WAN is a relatively recent market development, preceded by the existence of hybrid WAN architectures.
“SD-WANs leverage these hybrid WANs, but incorporate a centralised, application-based policy controller, analytics for application and network visibility, a software overlay that abstracts underlying networks and an options SD-WAN forwarder that together provides intelligent path selection across WAN links,” IDC says.
IDC says the software defined focus is shifting toward WANs which can also be optimised to meet the requirements of cloud applications and services.
IDC says SD-WAN can offer cost-effective delivery of business applications, meeting the evolving operational requirements of the modern branch/remote site, optimising software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud-based services such as unified communication and collaboration and improving branch-IT efficiency through automation.
Rohit Mehra, IDC vice president of network infrastructure, says WAN performance is becoming critical for latency-sensitive and mission critical workloads and inter-data centre business continuity, as public and private cloud use continues to grow.
"Accordingly, as enterprises plan and implement comprehensive cloud strategies, WAN architectures need to be considered alongside, and in conjunction with, data centre infrastructure,” Mehra says.
He says as enterprises move business processes to the cloud, there is a greater need to fully integrate cloud-sourced services into WAN environments to ensure workload/application performance, availability and security.
IDC says it believes that SD-WAN's value proposition – predicated on the growth of cloud computing, the need for simplified virtual private network (VPN) capabilities, and the business imperative of reducing MPLS costs – will be compelling for a growing number of enterprise customers seeking to provide cost-effective cloud-era networking to branch offices and remote sites.
That’s a view it says is supported by recent United States survey data, showing nearly half of enterprises are considering migration to SD-WAN over the next two years.