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sd-wanThe SD-WAN market is undergoing an exponential boom that isn’t expected to wane anytime soon. Based upon the principles of software-defined networking (SDN), SD-WAN provides enterprises a revolutionary way to centrally manage their networks and plays a pivotal role in delivering critical business applications.

According to a report by Quadrant Knowledge Solutions, the SD-WAN market is projected to be worth $17.92 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 53.6 percent.

But what exactly is driving this growth? Here are seven market trends propelling global SD-WAN adoption.

1. The Cloud

A major variable fueling interest in the SD-WAN market is an increased reliance upon cloud-based services among enterprises. Traditional multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networks are insufficient to meet the connection capabilities that these types of bandwidth-intensive applications demand.

As a result, many enterprises have turned to SD-WAN to allocate bandwidth effectively among multiple network links. Additionally, the zero-touch provisioning capabilities of SD-WAN drastically decrease the time it takes to bring cloud-based applications online for both company headquarters and branch offices.

2. Edge Computing

The rise of edge computing has created a need for SD-WAN as well. Edge computing is a method of performing processing tasks closer to the end user. It is seen as an essential element in enabling IoT (Internet of Things) devices, which need to gather and respond to data from remote locations in real-time.

SD-WAN can be deployed alongside edge computing. Using the technology, enterprises can set up various edge devices at remote offices and branch locations in order to enable several critical business applications. With SD-WAN, branch-to-branch traffic can be automatically and intelligently managed from a centralized control plane. Leveraging the platform, resources are effectively distributed to different business applications based upon previously established levels of priority.

3. IoT

The explosion in smart IoT devices has been another major contributor to growth in the SD-WAN market. Billions of devices are connected to the web and soon, hundreds of billions of devices. IoT represents a way for these devices to automatically communicate and exchange information with each other in creative, novel ways.

Many IoT devices need to collect data in real-time, which requires more bandwidth than traditional MPLS networks can provide. Consequently, many enterprises are leveraging SD-WAN to reduce the complexity of hosting multiple IoT devices on a single network. With SD-WAN, the complexity of connecting to the cloud is abstracted away through pre-determined policies for directing traffic flows. This reduces traffic congestion and bottlenecks, and ensures IoT applications run smoothly.

4. Security

Security has become more important as companies upgrade their network infrastructure to support IoT applications. The attack surface of the network increases as it scales to meet the needs of more connected devices.

For this reason, SD-WAN platforms often include built-in security capabilities and can integrate third-party tools. For example, SD-WAN solutions may come with granular visibility, which provides a holistic understanding of highly virtualized, complex environments. SD-WAN allows network administrators to put security policies in place, which determine what sort of threats should receive high versus low priority.

5. Hybrid Deployments

A hybrid cloud strategy enables enterprises to connect a private data center with a public or private cloud provider. Hybrid Deployments have become an attractive option among mid-to-large sized companies that want to provision new connections, determine security policies, develop applications and ensure traffic flows seemingly across multiple links, needs SD-WAN was made to fulfill. The global SD-WAN market is expected to grow alongside the global hybrid cloud market, which is expected to be worth $138.63 billion by 2023.

6. 5G

The commercialization of 5G is underway with deployments rolling out next to 4G LTE. The fifth generation of wireless networks, powered by hundreds of thousands of small cells, promises to provide the speed and latency needed to connect billions of IoT devices.

SD-WAN is expected to play a pivotal role in enabling 5G networks by intelligently directing traffic flows and distributing bandwidth among IoT devices, as well as protecting sensitive information generated at the edge of the network. SD-WAN will continue to complement the fifth generation of wireless networks as vendors incorporate 5G and gigabit LTE technologies into their platforms.

7. Outcome-driven Networking

Advancements in outcome-driven networking are also expected to help move SD-WAN forward. Intent-based networking leverages automation and machine learning (ML) to manage the network and set policies as it continues to learn and evolve.

Though still a developing concept, outcome-driven networking is intended to help service providers support IoT devices by providing the means to foresee, safeguard, diagnose and respond to security threats in real-time. SD-WAN solutions are expected to develop with outcome-driven networking systems by integrating various ML tools that make the network more adaptive, resourceful and secure.

To learn about more network trends driving widespread SD-WAN adoption, check out our latest report.