Gartner Group Innovation & Insight: Cutting Through the 5G Hype

Executive Summary:

Most 5G deployments will initially focus on islands of deployment, without continuous national coverage through 2022. Enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders must adapt digital business initiatives to the available network services.

Key Findings:

  • Despite service provider hype, most 5G rollouts will initially focus on islands of deployment. Broad availability of full-function public 5G from CSPs is unlikely before 2023, putting some digital business plans at risk — unless private networks are rolled out.
  • Early public 5G deployments will be spotty in coverage, but will satisfy some enterprise use cases such as high-speed fixed wireless access.
  • Enterprises may choose to deploy private 5G networks to address specific needs such as upgrading factory, stadium or warehouse networks. This may leverage Wi-Fi for access and 5G for the backbone.
  • Application use-case requirements (such as latency) must be clearly defined, so alternatives to 5G can be considered where applicable. In many cases, Proto-5G (an enhanced 4G) will be good enough to satisfy application use cases.

Recommendations:

Enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders responsible for accelerating enterprise infrastructure innovation and agility should:
  • Incorporate realistic networking assumptions for business plans by working with business leaders and network service providers to identify the availability of required advanced wireless services such as Proto-5G and 5G.
  • Address current use-case requirements by identifying where 5G alternatives such as Proto-5 G can be leveraged when and where 5G is unavailable or too expensive.

Strategic Planning Assumption:

Less than 45% of CSPs (Communications Service Providers) globally will have launched a commercial 5G network by 2025.

Analysis:

To optimize their planning and deployment decisions, enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders need to understand when advanced cellular network technologies will be available, and how they can be beneficial to their organizations (see Figure 1). Deployments of 5G will not be consistently available worldwide, but enhanced 4G (referred to collectively as “Proto-5G” in this research) may suffice for some use cases, and 4G radio may be combined with edge computing and core network slicing.
Adding to the confusion about 5G availability is the fact that many CSPs are claiming that everything they deploy is 5G. However, what they deploy may be little more than rebranded or advanced LTE, or a subset of 5G that is deployed in a very limited footprint.
Ubiquitous availability of 5G will be hampered by the following:
  • 5G deployments will take more than twice as long as 4G/LTE because higher-frequency radio spectrum is required. This will force deployment of large numbers of new cellular radios.
  • Spectrum allocation is progressing slowly.
  • 4G/LTE is successful and profitable.
  • There are no killer applications to pay for the required investment.
Network-based CSPs in North America, Greater China and Japan will launch projects to complete 90% of nationwide 5G population coverage by 2023. CSPs in Western Europe will achieve similar coverage by 2026, while other regions will not achieve the same coverage until after 2026.
Technological variation in frequency bands worldwide means that the deployment timelines and benefits will vary by geography (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Estimated Timing of 5G Network Launches

Source: Gartner (December 2018)

Estimated Timing of 5G Network Launches

Definition:

5G is the next-generation cellular standard after 4G. It has been defined across several global standards bodies, including the International Telecommunication Union, 3GPP and ETSI.
The official ITU specification, International Mobile Telecommunications-2020, targets maximum downlink and uplink throughputs of 20 Gbps and 10 Gbps, respectively; latency below 5 ms endpoint to RAN; and massive scalability, although initial deployments may be less ambitious. New system architecture includes core network slicing and edge computing.

Description:

For the first time in cellular technology development, 5G represents a shift in focus to go beyond consumer handsets to address the networking needs of a much broader group of wireless devices with very divergent requirements (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Three Technology Pillars of 5G

Three Technology Pillars of 5G

AR/VR = augmented reality/virtual reality; eMMB = enhanced mobile broadband; IoT; Internet of Things; mMTC = massive machine-type communications; URLLC = ultrareliable and low-latency communication

Source: Gartner (December 2018)

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Blending the following three capabilities will allow 5G to address multiple use cases, although the implementations for each use case may be very different.
  • eMBB: High-throughput data transfer, with maximum speeds of 20 Gbps for downlink (although initial deployments will fall between 4 Gbps and 8 Gbps) and 10 Gbps for uplink.
  • mMTC: Targets support of up to 1 million low-power nodes per square kilometer.
  • URLLC: End-to-end cellular network latency of 5 ms or less.
From an enterprise perspective, 5G may serve as an alternative to landline connections for branch-office networks, as a replacement for some in-building networks or as a way to reach dispersed fixed (sensors) and mobile (vehicles) endpoints. Mobile voice and text messaging are not target use cases for 5G.

The Evolution of 4G Versus the Promise of 5G:

While much has been made of the advanced capabilities that will be provided by 5G networks, the reality is that Proto-5G, which is still 4G, is good and getting better. As Table 1 shows, Proto-5G is a kind of 4G-extended technology mainly for data communication and IoT connectivity support. In some, or even many, cases, Proto-5G capabilities may be good enough to support your emerging applications. As CSPs deploy 5G, migration to this new service may require equipment refresh.

Table 1: Proto-5G (Enhanced 4G) Compared to Existing 4G and 5G Wireless Access in the Future

Feature
4G
Proto-5G
5G Wireless Access
Requirement and Target
Up to several hundred Mbps downlink throughput
About several tens of ms latency
More than 500 Mbps downlink throughput
About 10 ms latency IoT connectivity support
More than 10 Gbps downlink throughput
About 1 ms latency URLLC support
Frequency
Licensed (less than 6GHz)
Licensed and unlicensed (less than 6GHz)
Millimeter waves, in addition to Proto-5G’s frequency bands
Device IoT Support
LTE user equipment Cat. 1
LTE user equipment Cat. 0, M1 and NB-IoT
To be discussed in the technology standards
LTE = Long Term Evolution; URLLC = ultrareliable and low-latency communication
Source: Gartner (December 2018)
Deployments of 5G will occur over several years, and with multiple versions with very different capabilities because equipment vendors (Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, NEC, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE) have their own evolutionary roadmap from 4G: LTE, to Proto-5G, to 5G. This will lead to inconsistent service across markets and carriers.

Benefits and Uses:

The benefits of 5G will evolve as the technology matures. In the short term, 5G will deliver higher bandwidth and lower latency connections, in many cases, in the form of fixed wireless access networks and early IoT networks.
In a shift from traditional cellular deployments, organizations will benefit from private network deployments that replace or augment campus Wi-Fi networks and wired in-building networks for applications such as factory automation and surveillance.
This deployment will be driven by 5G’s increased bandwidth, lower latency and support for IoT devices, as well as by the flexibility afforded by operating on unlicensed frequencies.
A recent Gartner survey indicates that, enterprise leaders have a broad awareness of 5G and have identified primary use cases (see Figure 3).
The figure shows that 5G-capable networks are expected to be most broadly used for IoT communications and video, including 4K and 8K video streaming to mobile devices, or ultrahigh definition wireless, closed-circuit TV applications.

Figure 3. Expected Use for 5G-Capable Networks

AR = augmented reality; VR = virtual reality

Source: Gartner (December 2018)

Expected Use for 5G-Capable Networks
The 5G support of a massive number of endpoints will enable IoT applications such as dense sensor networks for agriculture optimization. Improved operational efficiency is cited as the reason to deploy 5G for noncritical sensors, fixed wireless access, IoT communications and video. The 5G-capable networks are expected to be most broadly used for IoT communications and video. Controls/automation, fixed wireless access, high-performance edge analytics, and location tracking are a second tier of uses for 5G-capable networks.
Figure 4 shows use cases that benefit from improved operational efficiency enabled by 5G.

Figure 4. Use Cases for Deploying 5G-Capable Networks for Operational Efficiency

Source: Gartner (December 2018)

Use Cases for Deploying 5G-Capable Networks for Operational Efficiency
In many cases, 5G is linked to organizations’ edge computing deployments, which are driven by digital business initiatives. Bandwidth- and latency-sensitive applications benefit from placing compute as close as possible to the wireless client device, especially when bandwidth is constrained from the edge back into the core. As a result, many enterprises may find it advantageous to leverage emerging CSP edge computing services (see Figure 5).

Figure 5. Migration to 5G Will Enable Emerging Edge Computing Applications

P2P = peer-to-peer; VNFs = virtualized network functions

Source: Gartner (December 2018)

Migration to 5G Will Enable Emerging Edge Computing Applications
Over the longer term, 5G deployments will deliver multigigabit bandwidth and extremely low latency. When combined with dense coverage, which will require a dramatic increase in the number of antenna deployed, 5G promises enablement of new services, including mobility-enhanced AR/VR and autonomous vehicles. AR, VR, immersive video or holograms, and smart city are key use cases being deployed primarily to drive new service provider revenue.
Figure 6. 5G Use Cases That CSPs Expect to Drive New Revenue

Source: Gartner (December 2018)

5G Use Cases That CSPs Expect to Drive New Revenue

Adoption Rate:

From 2018 through 2022, organizations will mainly utilize 5G to support IoT communications, high-definition video and fixed wireless access. Use of higher frequencies and massive capacity will require very dense deployments with higher frequency reuse.
As a result, Gartner expects most 5G deployments to initially focus on islands of deployment, without continuous national coverage, typically reaching less than full parity with existing 4G geographical coverage by 2022 in developed nations.
In addition, slower adoption of 5G by CSPs (compared to 4G) means less than 45% of CSPs globally will have launched a commercial 5G network by 2025 (see Table 2).

Table 2: Representative Sample of 5G Deployments and Expected Use Cases to Be Supported

Country
CSP
Launch Target
Use Cases and Demos
U.S.
Verizon
October 2018 and broader rollout in 2019
  • Fixed wireless access
  • 4K VR in 5G trial at Indianapolis 500
  • Verizon and KT test of the world’s first 5G live hologram call
AT&T
AT&T plans to be the first U.S. company to introduce mobile 5G service in 12 cities in 2018.
  • Fixed wireless access
T-Mobile
Build out 5G in 30 cities in 2018 and 2020 l for full nationwide coverage
  • LTE enhancement
Sprint
5G commercial services and devices by 1H19
  • LTE enhancement
South Korea
SK Telecom
Commercial launch March 2019
  • 5G connected car trial with Ericsson and BMW
KT
Official 5G provider of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
Commercial launch March 2019
  • Olympic network showcases 5G eMBB
  • Immersive 5G broadcasting
  • 5G safety (drones and facial recognition)
LG U+
Commercial launch March 2019
  • N/A
Japan
NTT DOCOMO
NTT DOCOMO will start 5G preservice in September 2019 and launch commercial service in spring 2020.
  • 8K live broadcast with NHK at the 5G trial site in Tokyo Skytree Town
KDDI
Commercial launch in 2019 and massive deployment from 2020
  • VR, 8K
SoftBank
Commercial launch in 2019
  • Immersive video, remote control of robots
China
China Mobile
Commercial 5G services in 2020
  • N/A
China Telecom
Commercial 5G services in 2020
  • N/A
China Unicom
Commercial 5G services in 2020
  • N/A
Europe
EE in the U.K.
In late 2019
  • N/A
Deutsche Telekom in Germany
Strong preparation course for 5G rollout in 2020
  • N/A
Telia in Finland
Target 2019 for commercial rollout of 3.5GHz
  • Initial demo in Helsinki in 2018
Vodafone in the U.K.
Vodafone is gearing up for a full commercial launch of 5G services in mid-2019 and expects to have about 1,000 5G mobile sites in service by 2020.
  • N/A
Telefónica in Spain
2020
  • Working with SEAT and FICOSA on connected car applications
  • Working on tourism use cases with Fitur
TIM in Italy
First 5G use cases made available in June 2018, and full rollout in Bari and Matera to be completed during 2019.
  • 3D virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites and museums in Matera, Italy. In Bari, Italy, the technology would allow for “better management of logistics and transport.”
Swisscom in Switzerland
Swisscom plans to introduce 5G at select sites in 2018. Extensive coverage can be expected in 2020.
  • N/A
Middle East
Etisalat in UAE
Per a 14 May 2018 announcement, fixed devices and services will be available from September 2018 with the service gradually extended across the UAE.
  • 5G has applications for autonomous driving, networking vehicles, industrial automation and IoT.
Ooredoo in Qatar
Per a 14 May 2018 announcement, the first Ooredoo 5G site was launched, just days after Ooredoo’s new 5G Commercial Core Network was activated.
  • The 5G Supernet will support new applications, including driverless cars and smart roads, virtual and augmented reality, and a national fleet of service drones.
STC in Saudi Arabia
Per a 16 May 2018 announcement, the company will continue building the network gradually in Saudi Arabian cities until the 5G-capable devices are available during 2019.
  • 5G will enable uses such as IoT, artificial intelligence and robots.
eMBB = enhanced mobile broadband; IoT; Internet of Things; N/A = not available; UAE = United Arab Emirates; VR = virtual reality
Source: Gartner (December 2018)

Risks:

Business plans that depend upon 5G availability face multiple risk factors related to 5G availability and inconsistency of services, including:
  • Service provider hype will convince business leaders that 5G is broadly available well ahead of actual deployments.
  • Differences in Proto-5G technologies will lead to inconsistent solutions across providers and regions.
  • CSP capital expense budgets are constrained, which will slow deployments in all but the highest-demand locations and for the applications that generate immediate service provider revenue.
  • Full-featured 5G requires a 4x increase in antenna density and an upgrade of the entire antenna to radio access node network, which will be challenging in cities due to existing buildings and lack of rights of way.

Acronym Key and Glossary Terms:

AR
augmented reality
CSP
communications service provider
ITU
International Telecommunication Union
LTE
Long Term Evolution
ms
millisecond
RAN
radio access network
URLLC
ultrareliable and low-latency communication
VR
virtual reality

IHS Markit: Service Provider Data Center Growth Accelerates + Gartner on DC Networking Market Drivers

Service Provider Data Center Growth Accelerates,  by Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., IHS Markit

Service providers are investing in their data centers (DCs) to improve scalability, deploy applications rapidly, enable automation, and harden security, according to the Data Center Strategies and Leadership Global Service Provider Survey from IHS Markit. Respondents are considering taking advantage of new options from server vendors such as ARM-based servers and parallel compute co-processors, allowing them to better match servers to their workloads. The workloads most deployed by service provider respondents were IT applications (including financial and on-line transaction processing), followed by ERP and generic VMs on VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V. Speed and support for network protocol virtualization and SDN are top service provider DC network requirements.

 “Traditional methods for network provisioning to provide users with a quality experience, such as statically assigned priorities (QoS) in the DC network, are no longer effective. The DC network must be able to recognize individual application traffic flows and rapidly adjust priority to match the dynamic nature of application traffic in a resource-constrained world. New requirements for applications delivered on demand, coupled with the introduction of virtualization and DC orchestration technology, has kicked off an unprecedented transformation that began on servers and is now reaching into the DC network and storage,” said Cliff Grossner Ph.D., senior research director and advisor for cloud and data center at IHS Markit , a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.Inline image

“Physical networks will always be needed in the DC to provide the foundation for the high-performance connectivity demanded of today’s applications. Cisco, Juniper, Huawei, Arista, and H3C were identified as the top five DC Ethernet switch vendors by service provider respondents ranking the top three vendors in each of eight selection criteria. These Ethernet switch providers have a long history as hardware vendors. When selecting a vendor, respondents are heavily weighing factors such as product reliability, service and support, pricing model, and security,” said Grossner.

More Service Provider Data Center Strategies Highlights:

·         Respondents indicate they expect a 1.5x increase in the average number of physical servers in their DCs by 2019.

·         Top DC investment drivers are scalability (a driver for 93% of respondents), rapid application deployment (87%), automation (73%), and security (73%).

·         On average 90% of servers are expected to be running hypervisors or containers by 2019, up from 74% today.

·         Top DC fabric features are high speed and support for network virtualization protocols (80% of respondents each), and SDN (73%).

·         100% of respondents intend to increase investment in SSD, 80% in software defined storage, and 67% in NAS.

·         The workloads most deployed by respondents were generic IT applications (53% of respondents), followed by ERP and generic VMs (20%).

·         Cisco and Juniper are tied for leadership with on average 58% of respondents placing them in the top three across eight categories. Huawei is #3 (38%), Arista is #4 (28%), and H3C is #5 (18%).

Data Center Network Research Synopsis:

The IHS Markit Data Center Networks Intelligence Service provides quarterly worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2022, analysis and trends for (1) data center Ethernet switches by category [purpose-built, bare metal, blade, and general purpose], port speed [1/10/25/40/50/100/200/400GE] and market segment [enterprise, telco and cloud service provider], (2) application delivery controllers by category [hardware-based appliance, virtual appliance], and (3) software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) [appliances and control and management software], (4) FC SAN switches by type [chassis, fixed], and (5) FC SAN HBAs. Vendors tracked include A10, ALE, Arista, Array Networks, Aryaka, Barracuda, Cisco, Citrix, CloudGenix, CradlePoint, Dell, F5, FatPipe, HPE, Huawei, Hughes, InfoVista, Juniper, KEMP, Nokia (Nuage), Radware, Riverbed, Silver Peak, Talari, TELoIP, VMware, ZTE and others.

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The following information was collected by Alan J Weissberger from various subscription only websites:

Gartner Group says the data center networking market is primarily driven by three factors:

  • Refresh of existing data center networking equipment that is at its technological or support limits
  • The expansion of capacity (i.e., physical buildouts) within existing locations
  • The desire to increase agility and automation to an existing data center

Data center networking solutions are characterized by the following elements:

  • Physical interfaces: Physical interfaces to plug-in devices are a very common component of products in this market. 10G is now the most common interface speed we see in enterprise data center proposals. However, we are also rapidly seeing the introduction of new Ethernet connectivity options at higher speeds (25 GbE, 50 GbE and 100 GbE). Interface performance is rarely an issue for new implementations, and speeds and feeds are less relevant as buying criteria for the majority of enterprise clients, when compared to automation and ease of operations (see “40G Is Dead — Embrace 100G in Your Data Center!” ).
  • Physical topology and switches: The spine-and-leaf (folded Clos) topology is the most common physical network design, proposed by most vendors. It has replaced the historical three-tier design (access, aggregation, core). The reduction in physical switching tiers is better-suited to support the massive east-west traffic flows created by new application architectures (see “Building Data Center Networks in the Digital Business Era” and “Simplify Your Data Center Network to Improve Performance and Decrease Costs” ). Vendors deliver a variety of physical form factors for their switches, including fixed-form factor and modular or chassis-based switches. In addition, this includes software-based switches such as virtual switches that reside inside of physical virtualized servers.
  • Switching/infrastructure management: Ethernet fabric provides management for a collection of switches as a single construct, and programmable fabrics include an API. Fabrics are commonly adopted as logical control planes for spine-and-leaf designs, replacing legacy protocols like Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) and enabling better utilization of all the available paths. Fabrics automate several tasks affiliated with managing a data center switching infrastructure, including autodiscovery of switches, autoconfiguration of switches, etc. (see “Innovation Insight for Ethernet Switching Fabric” ).
  • Automation and orchestration: Automation and orchestration are increasingly important to buyers in this market, because enterprises want to improve speed to deliver data center network infrastructure to business, including on-demand capability. This includes support and integration with popular automation tools (such as Ansible, Chef and Puppet), integration with broader platforms like VMware vRA, inclusion of published/open APIs, as well as support for scripting tools like Python (see “Building Data Center Networks in the Digital Business Era” ).
  • Network overlays: Network overlays create a logical topology abstracted from the underlying physical topology. We see overlay tunneling protocols like VXLAN used with virtual switches to provide Layer 2 connectivity on top of scalable Layer 3 spine-and-leaf designs, enabling support of multiple tenants and more granular network partitioning (microsegmentation), to increase security within the data center. Overlay products also typically provide an API to enable programmability and integration with orchestration platforms.
  • Public cloud extension/hybrid cloud: An emerging capability of data center products is the ability to provide visibility, troubleshooting, configuration and management for workloads that exist in a public cloud provider’s infrastructure. In this case, vendors are not providing the underlying physical infrastructure within the cloud provider network, but provide capability to manage that infrastructure in a consistent manner with on-premises/collocated workloads.

You can see user reviews for Data Center Networking vendors here.

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In a new report,  HTF Market Intelligence says that the Global  Data Center Colocation Market will Have Huge Growth by 2025.

The key players are highly focusing innovation in production technologies to improve efficiency and shelf life. The best long-term growth opportunities for this sector can be captured by ensuring ongoing process improvements and financial flexibility to invest in the optimal strategies. Company profile section of players such as NTT Communications Corporation, Dupont Fabros Technology, Inc., Digital Realty Trust, Inc., Cyxtera Technologies, Inc., Cyrusone Inc., Level 3 Communications Inc., Equinix, Inc., Global Switch, AT&T, Inc., Coresite Realty Corporation, China Telecom Corporation Limited, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Inc., Interxion Holding NV, Internap Corporation & KDDI Corporation includes its basic information like legal name, website, headquarters, its market position, historical background and top 5 closest competitors by Market capitalization / revenue along with contact information. Each player/ manufacturer revenue figures, growth rate and gross profit margin is provided in easy to understand tabular format for past 5 years and a separate section on recent development like mergers, acquisition or any new product/service launch etc.

Browse the Full Report at: https://www.htfmarketreport.com/reports/1125877-global-data-center-colocation-market-6

Gartner Group: SD-WAN Survey Yields Surprises

by Danellie Young | Ted Corbett | Lisa Pierce

Introduction:

A Gartner-conducted software-defined (SD)-WAN survey has identified the key drivers for SD-WAN adoption and preferences for managed services from non-carrier providers. Despite its relative immaturity, the perceived benefits create incentives for IT leaders responsible for networking to leap into SD-WAN pilots now.

Editor’s Notes:

  1.  Please refer to our report on IHS-Markit analysis of the SD-WAN market. Cisco and VMware are the top two vendors due to recent acquisitions of Viptela and Velocloud respectively. Cisco also bought Meraki which provides a SD-WAN solution as well as business WiFi networks.
  2. According survey data from Nemertes Research, enterprises are not discarding their MPLS networks as they deploy SD-WANs. “Fully 78% of organizations deploying SD-WAN have no plan to completely drop MPLS from their WAN,” Nemertes John Burke reports. “However, most intend to reduce and restrict their use of it (MPLS), if not immediately then over the next few years.”
  3. “Although it brings a lot of benefits to the table, SD-WAN still uses the public Internet to connect your sites,” points out Network World contributor Mike C. Smith. “And once your packets hit the public Internet, you will not be able to guarantee low levels of packet loss, latency and jitter: the killers of real-time applications.”

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Key Findings of Gartner Survey:

  • Enterprise clients cite increased network availability, reliability and reduced WAN costs resulting from less-expensive transport as the top benefits of software-defined WAN.
  • Enterprise clients are concerned about the large number of SD-WAN vendors and anticipate market consolidation, making some early choices risky.
  • A lack of familiarity with the technology, the instability of the vendors, and skepticism about performance and reliability are the most common concerns when deploying SD-WAN.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the organizations we surveyed prefer buying managed SD-WAN, demonstrating a preference for presales and postsales support. A preference for type of managed service provider does not align with legacy carrier MSP adoption rates.

Recommendations:

To maximize new SD-WAN opportunities, infrastructure and operations leaders planning new networking architectures should:

  • Include SD-WAN solutions on their shortlists if they’re aggressively migrating apps to the public cloud, building hybrid WANs, refreshing branch WAN equipment and/or renegotiating a managed network service contract.
  • Include a diverse range of management solutions related to SD-WAN considerations; don’t just look at carrier offers to determine the best option available to meet enterprise requirements.
  • Compare each vendor’s current features and roadmaps with enterprise requirements to develop a shortlist, and use pilots and customer references to confirm providers’ ability to deliver on the most desirable features and functionality.
  • Focus pilots on specific, critical success factors and negotiate contract terms and conditions to support service configuration changes, fast site roll-out and granular application reporting.
  • Negotiate flexible WAN or managed WAN services contract clauses to support evolution to SD-WAN when appropriate.

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Gartner has forecast SD-WAN to grow at a 59% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2021 to become a $1.3 billion market (see Figure 1 and “Forecast: SD-WAN and Its Impact on Traditional Router and MPLS Services Revenue, Worldwide, 2016-2020”). Simultaneously, the overall branch office router market is forecast to decline at a −6.3% CAGR and the legacy router segment will suffer a −28.1% CAGR through 2020.

SD-WAN equipment and services dramatically simplify the complexity associated with the management and configuration of WANs. They provide branch-office connectivity in a simplified and cost-effective manner, compared with traditional routers. These solutions enable traffic to be distributed across multiple WAN connections in an efficient and dynamic fashion, based on performance and/or application-based policies.

The survey data highlights that most of the respondent organizations are in the early stages of their SD-WAN projects. To qualify, respondents must be involved in choosing, implementing and/or managing network services and equipment for their company’s sites, while their primary role in the organization is IT-focused or IT-business-focused. We intentionally searched for companies that plan to use or are using SD-WAN. Of those surveyed, 93% plan to use SD-WAN within two years or are piloting and deploying now, with approximately 73% in pilot or deployment mode. These results do not reflect actual market adoption rates, because Gartner estimates that between 1% and 5% of enterprises have deployed SD-WAN. Although the results differ numerically, the qualitative feedback is compelling.

Related to specific number of sites, the responses are shown in Figure below:

Enlarge Image

Respondents using SD-WAN; n = 21 (small sample size; results are indicative).  Totals may not add up to 100%, due to rounding.

Source: Gartner Group (November 2017)

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SD-WAN Concerns

Enterprises cite their lack of deep technology familiarity as a key barrier to using SD-WAN. In fact, of those who plan for SD-WAN, nearly 50% have concerns about their lack of technical familiarity, followed by concerns over the stability of vendors and concerns about performance and reliability. 

Editor’s Note: Surprisingly, enterprises don’t seem to be concerned with the lack of SD-WAN standards which dictates a single vendor solution/lock-in.

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With more than 30 SD WAN vendors in the market and consolidation accelerating, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

Other key findings include:

  • Vendor stability is a major concern. Among the 51% of respondents who selected performance and reliability as key drivers (n = 44), nearly half (45%) had concerns about the stability of the vendors.
  • Many among the 50% who see agility as a key driver (n = 36) expressed concern about their lack of familiarity with the technology.
  • Among organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees (n = 53), the most common concern is lack of familiarity with the technology (51%). Organizations with 1,000 to 9,999 employees (n = 38) find the ROI of the investment to be most common challenge (50%).
  • Among the EMEA respondents (n = 48), half were most concerned about the stability of the vendors, followed closely by concerns about proven performance and reliability.

To purchase the complete Gartner SD-WAN report go to: 

https://www.gartner.com/doc/3829464/survey-analysis-early-findings-yield

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References:

https://www.sdxcentral.com/sd-wan/definitions/software-defined-sdn-wan/

https://blogs.gartner.com/andrew-lerner/2017/06/03/sd-wan-is-going-mainstream/

 Technology Insight for Software-Defined WAN [SD-WAN]

IHS-Markit: 15% Drop in Global Optical Network Equipment Sales; Cisco and VMware are SD-WAN market leaders

http://sd-wan.cloudgenix.com/Q217GartnerTechInsightforSD-WANSearch_registration.html

http://blog.ntt-sdwan.com/post/102ekiu/sd-wan-momentum-five-trends-to-look-out-for-in-2018

https://www.networkworld.com/article/3236492/techology-business/mpls-sd-wan-not-an-eitheror-scenario.html

Broadband Forum’s vBG network spec targeted at SD-WANs; led by ONUG

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