Aryaka's fifth annual State of the WAN report shows how the events of 2020 have impacted short and long-term spending trends in the SD-WAN market. The managed SD-WAN vendor surveyed 1,350 companies, most of which had between 100 and 10,000 employees.
Only 17% of respondents plan to conduct an SD-WAN/SASE-driven network refresh this year versus 29% in 2020. According to Dave Ginsburg, Aryaka's VP for product and solutions marketing, some 2021 budgets may be tighter due to unexpected 2020 spending on added cloud services and remote work solutions.
But going forward, the shift to remote work is expected to drive more SD-WAN spending. 43% of respondents said they will be looking at SD-WAN investment as a way to boost application performance across locations, making application performance this year's top driver for WAN transformation, according to the survey. Other drivers were MPLS augmentation (39%) and contract expiration (27%). Over 50% of companies surveyed plan to terminate some or all MPLS contracts.
More than 80% of the companies surveyed said they expect over a quarter of their workers to remain remote after the pandemic ends, and over two-thirds desire flexibility between on-premises and remote deployments. 63% said they consider the ability to move resources between on-premise and remote to be very important.
Ginsburg said the security solutions that support remote work have performed well, which gives companies the confidence to continue to leverage a remote workforce.
SD-WAN and Security
SASE, the acronym coined by Gartner to stand for secure access service edge, was an area of major interest for many respondents. 29% of respondents said they are already deploying SASE, and 56% plan to do so in the next 12-24 months.
Ginsburg said that companies are starting to consider SD-WAN and SASE together when they make investment decisions, but there are often organizational structures in the way: one group buys for the network and another buys security solutions. "They’re being fused more and more," said Ginsburg. "We’re experiencing that more and more, but there are still different people within the organization that are responsible for their different areas of expertise.”
“The majority of our engagements right now include the security discussion, and about 50% of our customer wins right now include that," Ginsburg said. Aryaka offers both managed security services and partnerships with security solution providers. Ginsburg said that only a quarter of survey respondents currently plan to use their SD-WAN vendor for security.
Managed services vs. DIY
Like last year, survey respondents named network complexity as their top concern, with more than a third ranking it as the number one concern. 70% of survey respondents intend to move to a managed SD-WAN service vs. 18% that prefer the do-it-yourself approach. Aryaka offers a managed service, but many of its competitors who do not offer a managed SD-WAN service find their way into complex enterprise deployments through telco partners, who act as managed service providers.