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Open Systems’ Key Takeaways from Gartner’s Competitive Landscape: Managed SD-WAN Services

Myo Zarny | August 20, 2020

I'd like to discuss what we at Open Systems believe are a few key takeaways from a recent Gartner report called Competitive Landscape: Managed SD-WAN Services published on 2 March 2020.

SD-WAN Is Now the Norm

According to the report, “Over the past 18 months, Gartner has seen enterprises’ SD-WAN uptake entering early mainstream adoption and becoming the de facto option on new WAN edge sourcing initiatives (see ‘Forecast Analysis: Enterprise Networking Connectivity Growth Trends, Worldwide’).” Enterprises now view core SD-WAN features like centralized management of edge devices, dynamic path selection across different types of links, local breakout and rich analytics as must-haves. The report further states, “Gartner predicts enterprise spend on SD-WAN products to grow at a 29.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2018 through 2023.” At Open Systems we believe this rise in demand has led to a variety of offerings across market segments: from SD-WAN enabled edge devices to WAN transport to service management.

SD-WAN Choices Abound

Enterprises have more choices than ever. They could take a completely DIY approach, putting together individual components from different vendors, and managing those point solutions on their own. Or they could buy fully managed SD-WAN services and the underlying WAN transport from a single provider. Or somewhere in between: e.g., some might lease WAN and Internet links from different carriers/ISPs, and have a single service provider fully manage the SD-WAN on top. Some enterprises might also select a self-service option that enables their IT to make certain SD-WAN changes without having to go through the provider’s NOC.

There is increasing competition in the managed provider space too. Network service providers (NSPs, “carriers”) aren’t the only game in town anymore. The report lists seven notable non-carrier SD-WAN service providers, including Open Systems.

Managed Provider Selection Considerations

More and more enterprises are choosing to go with a managed SD-WAN service provider. Gartner mentions in its key findings, “Enterprises’ spend on the managed SD-WAN service market is expected to grow at a 76% CAGR from 2018 through 2023, and many different types of service providers target this opportunity.”

But what selection criteria do we use? The report states “the options from non-NSP managed SD-WAN service providers are disrupting the traditionally NSP-centric sourcing model for managed WAN services. Gartner has identified five categories for the competitive dynamics in managed SD-WAN services for enterprises.” These categories include WAN transport, SD-WAN technology, managed service options, network function virtualization, and security approach.

How SASE are the SD-WAN Offerings Today?

The report further states “for most enterprises, the decision to refresh their WAN infrastructure based on SD-WAN technology will trigger the discussion on how the WAN network security is impacted and what approaches should be followed. In response to this need, most managed SD-WAN service providers offer some embedded security into their SD-WAN managed services, such as basic firewalling, as well as tiered security service options.”

Security can’t be an afterthought in the mobile and cloud first world. The report points that “most enterprises adopting managed SD-WAN services will also need managed security services, which can potentially be sourced from the same service provider.”

Recap

To recap, SD-WAN is now the de facto option for all new WAN initiatives. You can choose from a variety of offerings across WAN transport, SD-WAN technology and security segments. You could still choose to: (1) do it yourself; (2) go with a managed service provider for all of the segments; or (3) do something in between. If you do decide to look into managed SD-WAN service providers, look at not just their WAN transport and SD-WAN features but also if their security capabilities are tightly integrated with their SD-WAN. And also think about whether you want a fully managed model or a co-managed/self-service model.

Open Systems has been delivering white-glove service for 30 years for our clients in 180+ countries around the world. Please reach out to us when you’re considering for a managed SD-WAN partner.

Gartner Competitive Landscape: Managed SD-WAN Services
Published 2 March 2020 - ID G00344120
By Analysts Gaspar Valdivia, Ted Corbett