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At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) vendors witnessed a surge in demand for SD-WAN technology to extend to remote workers. The business case for doing so is solid. As businesses across industries are embracing the public cloud to host key applications, and with advances in residential broadband and wireless speeds, remote workers can access most enterprise applications from home. While WAN technology is evolving into a software-centric approach (thanks to SDN, NFV, and SD-WAN) to support distributed users and applications, security has remained largely centralized. Today, employees, partners, and contractors have the ability to access enterprise applications from anywhere around the globe. Security administrators must keep track of users’ locations and the applications they are accessing, monitor the performance and quality of experience for those applications, and secure them. Traditional infrastructure-based security concentrated in company headquarters is not sufficient when business applications are deployed across multiple clouds.The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the value of cloud and connectivity to ensure business continuity. Frost & Sullivan expects cloud adoption to increase in the next 5 years, thus driving demand for SD-WAN solutions. While most SD-WAN vendors have had cloud on-ramp connectivity to public cloud for a while, in 2020 vendors integrated their solutions with Azure virtual WAN, Amazon Transit Network Gateway, and Google Cloud Hub to optimize enterprise cloud connectivity. In the 2021 Frost & Sullivan Global WAN Virtualization Trends end-user survey, IT decision makers listed virtual network services as the third-most important technology trend of priority for the next 24 months. The growth in adoption of IoT applications and the need for faster data processing for latency-sensitive applications are driving demand for edge computing. In addition, 5G plays a critical role in the success of edge compute due to its high-speed and low-latency bandwidth features. SD-WAN facilitates automated, optimized, and secure connectivity over 5G between endpoints (users or things) and edge compute nodes. The network slicing feature of 5G enables an SD-WAN platform to request virtualized slices on the network for different applications, based on centrally defined policies. While COVID-19 disrupted introduction of 5G integrated SD-WAN appliances, SD-WAN vendors are looking to ship SD-WAN appliances with integrated 5G support to tap into edge computing and 5G trends in late 2021 or early 2022.The concept of self-healing WAN has remained at the core of SD-WAN discussions since its inception, owing to its SDN roots. SD-WAN solution vendors are investing in and integrating AI and ML tools to deliver on the promise of application-aware or intent-based networking to automate routine network operation tasks, set policies, measure network performance against set targets, and respond to and rectify the networks as needed.The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted global businesses across industries. While almost all technology spending came to a halt in Q2 of 2020, or sales cycles lengthened, the SD-WAN technology market began to recover in early 2021. Vendors interviewed for the report confirmed they are seeing a surge in sales as pent-up demand begins to get fulfilled.The global SD-WAN vendor market remains fragmented, with close to 25 vendors in competition. However, not all vendors provide complete SD-WAN solutions. The companies mapped on the Frost Radar™ offer well-rounded solutions. Vendors are primarily analyzed based on their SD-WAN features and functionality; while related functions such as security, WAN optimization, and routing are critical, the vendors must have a comprehensive SD-WAN solution for inclusion on the Radar™. The Frost Radar™ reveals the market positioning of each company using its Growth and Innovation scores as highlighted in the Radar™ methodology. The document presents a competitive profile of each company based on its strengths, opportunities, and market positioning. We discuss the top strategic market imperatives and the competitive environment that vendors operate in as well as make recommendations for each provider to spur its growth.Author: Roopashree Honnachari
Frost Radar™: Asia-Pacific Managed SD-WAN Services Market, 2021
Frost Radar™: Latin American Managed SD-WAN Services Market, 2021
The Coming of Age of NFV-based Virtual Network Services
Business Carrier Ethernet Services Market Update, United States, 2020
Wholesale Carrier Ethernet Services Market Update, United States, 2020
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Frost Radar™: North American Managed SD-WAN Services Market, 2020
Frost Radar™: Global SD-WAN Vendor Market, 2020
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