Table of Contents
- Market Categories and Deployment Types
- Key Criteria Comparison
- GigaOm Radar
- Vendor Insights
- Analyst’s Take
Software-defined wide-area networking, or SD-WAN, is a flexible, enabling solution transmitting packets of data over various pathways based upon predetermined factors. Traditionally, WAN connections were made via a single carrier such as AT&T, Verizon, or Comcast. SD-WAN begins to shine when two or more pathways or carriers are used, providing increased performance to traditional data centers and the cloud.
Traffic from voice and video conferencing is bandwidth-taxing, and SD-WAN solutions determine which route these IP packets should take based upon analysis of current traffic flows and frequent network testing. All traffic is routed by taking into account the predetermined priority of the application, the available bandwidth, and what other traffic is being sent.
Many SD-WAN vendors have databases in the thousands of applications. Their typical priorities, Zoom Video and CRM, generally would be at the higher end and social media at the lower end. These values can be fine-tuned as needed; some vendors allow for more granular configuration than others.
Zero-touch deployment is becoming more important, allowing an organization to ship equipment to a location and have it plugged in by an office manager so it can start working right away. In other scenarios, an email link click establishes virtual SD-WAN without further involvement from IT.
SD-WAN can be configured by the customer, delivered via an MSP, or provided as a managed service via a carrier. Often, SD-WAN is tied in with a next-generation firewall, helping to provide secure connectivity from cloud apps to end devices. Some companies include these firewalls, while others have one or more partners to choose from.
The benefits of SD-WAN make it a crucial technology, enabling business continuity and digital transformation. As organizations have migrated to teleworking on a massive scale, thanks to COVID-19, SD-WAN has proven itself as a reliable technology, enabling workers to stay productive regardless of their location, even when using poor internet links.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.