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Cato Networks: SD-WAN Hits 'Mainstream'

By James Anderson
June 01, 2017 - News

A new study projects SD-WAN adoption to grow at a year-over-year rate of almost 200 percent.

Cato Networks this week released a survey of more than 350 IT professionals, who concluded that SD-WAN has gone from “once-niche technology" to mainstream.

One in 10 respondents has already deployed an SD-WAN solution, but 20 percent say they will deploy it in the next year. Most businesses are at least aware of SD-WAN, as 30 percent of the respondents said they are considering adopting the technology. Half of the IT professionals said their companies will grow their networking budgets during the next one to two years.

But this promising growth comes with “growing pains," according to Jim Duffy, senior networking analyst at 451 Research.

"IT practitioners are still ironing out the wrinkles when it comes to SD-WAN. The technology offers streamlined management and increased network agility, but its cost-reduction impact is constrained by the need for increased security and the continued reliance on MPLS," Duffy said. “The scope of SD-WAN is likely to expand to address these constraints and enhance customers' return on investment."

Prospective SD-WAN adopters are most concerned about the price of equipment services and the maturity of current SD-WAN solutions, according to the survey. The survey also noted that security is a main concern. About half (53 percent) of the companies that have already deployed the technology had to invest more in security appliances.

The survey found that almost two-thirds (62 percent) of the SD-WAN-deploying respondents have either increased their investment in MPLS or kept it the same, although many respondents said that eliminating MPLS is an important step in making the transition.

"While our survey shows strong positive momentum for SD-WAN as a category, it also uncovers major shortcomings in traditional SD-WAN solutions," said Shlomo Kramer, founder and CEO of Cato Networks. "When organizations invest in solutions that lack an SLA-backed transport layer and built-in security, they still rely on expensive MPLS services as well as physical security appliances, both of which severely limit savings potential. SD-WAN has clearly emerged as a serious contender in the networking space, but must mature significantly before it can truly live up to its potential."

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