Officials with Silver Peak and Aryaka this week outlined recent momentum in their businesses that they say illustrates the growing popularity of software-defined WAN technologies.
Silver Peak, whose legacy lies in such areas as WAN optimization, almost a year ago unveiled Unity EdgeConnect, a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution aimed at making campus and remote networks more agile and scalable to fit in a more cloud-centric world. Officials this week said that over the past nine months, the company has signed up 100 new customers for Unity EdgeConnect, joining another 200 companies that are embracing its SD-WAN technologies.
For their part, Aryaka officials said that in the first quarter, the company added more than 50 new customers for its software-defined networking (SDN) and SD-WAN platforms in the three months of the year, bringing its total number of customers to more than 400. In addition, 60 percent of first-quarter books came from new customers, with 40 percent generated from existing users expanding their footprints and increasing their consumption.
The company in January introduced SD-WAN Ultra, a cloud-based, integrated SD-WAN offering that includes WAN optimization and software-as-a-service (SaaS) acceleration.
SD-WAN is part of the larger network virtualization push in the industry to create more programmable, flexible and affordable networks that can better handle the rapidly changing business demands brought on by such trends as mobility, big data, the Internet of things (IoT) and the cloud. However, while SDN is generating a lot of interest in the data center, it's an architectural play and enterprises are taking a cautious approach to the technology, according to John Vincenzo, senior vice president and chief marketing officer with Silver Peak.
The story for SD-WAN is different, Vincenzo told eWEEK. "SD-WAN … is real. You're solving real problems today, and people have room in their budgets [for it]."
Analysts are expecting the SD-WAN market to grow rapidly over the next several years. IDC is predicting the market will grow from less than $225 million last year to more than $6 billion by 2020. About 1 percent of enterprises today are using SD-WAN technologies, but that will grow to 30 percent by the end of 2019, according to Gartner analysts.
IHS Infonetics analysts found in a recent survey that 65 percent of campus LAN respondents have started or expect to start lab trials by the end of the year, with 77 percent saying they will go into live production by 2018.
SD-WAN also is drawing a lot of attention from vendors. Established players like Cisco Systems are adding SD-WAN capabilities to their portfolios, while others like Silver Peak and Riverbed Technology are moving into the market from other areas like WAN optimization. There also are a large number of pure-play SD-WAN vendors, including VeloCloud, CloudGenix, Talari Networks and Viptela.
Before the rise of the cloud, most campus data traffic ran between the remote offices and the central data center over transport models like multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). However, with greater mobility and the cloud, applications are coming from a variety of sources, and traffic now also is going between the campus and the cloud.
"The industry has been looking for the reinvention of the WAN for 25 years," Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, told eWEEK in April. "It was designed for client/server technologies. Now we've got mobile traffic, a lot more cloud traffic, a lot of PLP [packet layer protocol] traffic. … The architecture we have just doesn't work now."