Markets and Trends

IDC MarketScape Evaluates Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure Vendors and Market Trends  

Accessing cloud applications, optimizing network management and enhancing network performance drive SD-WAN growth
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IDC recently published an assessment of vendors competing in the SD-WAN Infrastructure market and analysis of key trends driving this dynamic market. The 2023 IDC MarketScape on Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure evaluated 12 vendors in the SD-WAN market and recognized five leaders. 

“SD-WAN remains one of the most important markets in enterprise networking, driven by a variety of factors.”

Brandon Butler, Research Manager, Enterprise Networks, IDC

As organizations across the globe continue to embark on digital and network transformation initiatives, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) infrastructure remains a key technology that enterprises across the globe are investing in.

Organizations around the globe continue to invest in SD-WAN to optimize their edge network connectivity, enhance user and application experiences, enable increased operational efficiency, and save money.

Brandon Butler, Research Manager, Enterprise Networks, IDC

IDC forecast data shows that in 2022, the SD-WAN infrastructure market grew 25.0% and through 2027, the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.1% to reach $7.5 billion.

SD-WAN technology takes the principles of software-defined networking that were first deployed in datacenter networks and applies them to the wide area network. Fundamentally, SD-WAN technology abstracts the underlying WAN transports, such as broadband, MPLS, or cellular connectivity, from the software-based management of those networks.

Key Trends in SD-WAN

The SD-WAN market is in a state of transition. Since the market took hold nearly five years ago, vendors have been evolving their technology in a variety of important ways. Some important trends that are driving the SD-WAN market include:

  1. SD-WAN + Security

There are multiple dimensions to the trend of more integrated management of SD-WAN and security. One aspect concerns the natively integrated security capabilities offered by SD-WAN vendors, such as intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS), next-generation firewall (NGFW), and content/web/URL filtering.

A second aspect is toward secure access service edge (SASE) architectures, which combine SD-WAN with cloud-based network edge security as a service (NESaaS) tools, such as a secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access security broker (CASB), and zero trust network access (ZTNA). SD-WAN customers can work with their existing SD-WAN vendor to consume NESaaS and build a SASE architecture or use a multivendor approach.

The IDC MarketScape for Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure focuses on the networking strategy and capabilities of SD-WAN vendors, while also taking into account integrated and partner-led security approaches of SD-WAN vendors.

Another important trend is the software-defined branch (SD-Branch), which refers to integrated management of SD-WAN with LAN/WLAN networks. SD-Branch architectures create an opportunity for enterprises to have centralized visibility, analytics, and management of their network, across the LAN/WLAN and SD-WAN. Other benefits of SD-Branch include the ability for advanced ML/AI-enhanced management and leveraging a cloud-based platform. SD-Branch is ideal for customers that want to consolidate management across their campus and branch for ease of management.

2. SD-Branch: SD-WAN + LAN/WLAN

AI/ML-Enhanced Analytics and Automation

The visibility and automation platforms included in SD-WAN infrastructure products are maturing rapidly. Having insights into network performance and end user experience, and linking that data to advanced AI-enhanced automation systems becomes a powerful tool for enterprises that are managing globally-distributed SD-WAN deployments.

2023 IDC MarketScape for SD-WAN Infrastructure Evaluates 12 Vendors

The 2023 IDC MarketScape for Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure evaluates 12 vendors in the SD-WAN Infrastructure market across 20 scoring-criteria categories, including 10 each of strategy and capabilities. Vendors had to meet a minimum threshold of annual revenue and global availability of an SD-WAN Infrastructure product to be included in the research.

The research named five vendors as leaders, including Cisco, Fortinet, HPE Aruba Networking, Palo Alto Networks and VMware. Seven vendors were named Major Players or Contenders, including Aryaka, Barracuda Networks, H3C, Huawei, Juniper Networks, Nokia and Versa. Another three vendors did not meet the criteria to be included as full participants of the research but were named “Vendors to Watch” including Ericsson/Cradlepoint, Extreme Networks and NetSkope.

As organizations across the globe prioritize digital and network transformation efforts, SD-WAN infrastructure has solidified as a key strategic technology. The 2023 IDC MarketScape for Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure is meant to be a guide for helping enterprises evaluate vendors in this important, and fast-changing market.

Brandon's research focuses on market and technology trends, forecasts and competitive analysis in enterprise campus and branch networks. His coverage includes technologies used in local and wide area networking such as Ethernet switching, routing/SD-WAN, wireless LAN, and enterprise network management platforms. While contributing to ongoing forecast and market share updates, he also assists in end-user surveys, interviews and advisory services and contributes to custom projects for IDC’s Consulting and Go-To-Market Services practices.