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Cloud growth spurring spread of WAN bandwidth use

Among other things, experts says effective SD-WAN tools provide deep visibility into application performance and network flows.

Jeff Rowe | May 07, 2018 12:00 am

If the cloud has become a significant part of your IT strategy, chances are you’ve also investigated the potential need for software-defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN)

That’s according to a recent survey from analyst firm IHS Markit. The WAN Strategies North America study found almost three quarters (74 percent) of organizations polled conducted SD-WAN lab trials in 2017, with many of these moving into production trials and, eventually, live production, this year.

The survey also shows that investments in WANs generally continue unabated, driven by traffic growth, company expansion, adoption of the Internet of things (IoT), the need for greater control over the WAN, and the need to put WAN costs on a sustainable path. WAN bandwidth usage is expected to grow over 20 percent each year according to respondents, while total WAN expenditures rose almost 20 percent, to $300,000 per respondent, last year.

“As companies shift a greater portion of their IT infrastructure into the cloud and expand their physical presence to go after new markets or be closer to customers and partners, the need for reliable, secure and high-performance WAN and internet connectivity has never been greater,” said Matthias Machowinski, IHS Markit enterprise networks senior research director in a statement.

Machowinski added, however, that “companies don’t have unlimited budgets to fund growing WAN bandwidth consumption, which is why a majority are planning to deploy software-defined WAN in the next three years, to better control how their WANs are used.” 

The survey also found that 71 percent of respondents will use off-premises cloud service providers by 2018, which will become the top application strategy in 2018.