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Digital Workspace Combined with SD-WAN and SASE

Enterprise network management complexity grows as more devices require connectivity from more locations. Case in point, the remote working phenomena has driven demand for software-defined solutions to reduce networking costs, improve scalability, and enable the integration of security.

Although the emergence of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) -- which integrates SD-WAN with edge security -- has caused some vendors to rethink their solutions, market opportunity remains across the software-defined networking sector for innovative vendors to explore vertical industry demand.

Established networking vendors already lead the SD-WAN market. Next, the cloud-native innovators will drive growth by also offering solutions that shift end-user computing and integrated security to the cloud, enabling CIOs and CTOs to develop versatile enterprise networking strategies.

SD-WAN Market Development

Cloud-based solution providers will become increasingly important, given the benefits that shifting network infrastructure and applications to the cloud can bring to nearly all enterprise verticals.

"As enterprises shift toward cloud-native strategies, it is imperative for suppliers to keep in lockstep with enterprise demand by providing universal access to network Points of Presence (PoPs), said Reece Hayden, research analyst at ABI Research.

For SD-WAN vendors, ABI analysts believe the most efficient strategy would be the formation of partnerships with colocation service providers, such as Equinix or Megaport. This would provide networking vendors with near-immediate global coverage and limited PoP set-up costs.

According to the ABI assessment, communication service providers, appliance vendors, and enterprise verticals still have a lot to gain from SD-WAN solution deployments. Lateral thought and product innovation remain the key requirements for vendors within the enterprise connectivity ecosystem.

These suppliers must continue to drive innovation across the entire software-defined portfolio and offer solutions that seamlessly integrate the traditional (office) and new (home) workplaces with complete visibility and universal cloud accessibility.

ABI Research projects that the next stage of innovation within SD-WAN will be led by the integration of 5G into the enterprise networking ecosystem. This will be led by the quality of experience demand, the rise of multi-access edge computing, and improvement in security via network segmentation.

But, given the immaturity of enterprise 5G infrastructure, it is unlikely that this will be universally possible for 3-5 years. It is likely that, when the infrastructure is in place, communication service providers will be in the driver's seat to benefit from integrating 5G with SD-WAN technologies.

With the SD-WAN market maturing, appliance vendors and communication service providers must continue to develop solutions that differentiate them from the competition, while continuing to monitor emerging demand from enterprise verticals.

Outlook for SD-WAN Applications Growth

 "The enterprise connectivity ecosystem is driven by demand. Enterprise verticals generally want a fully integrated, managed, or co-managed, OPEX-led networking solution that provides cross-enterprise visibility and cloud accessibility," Hayden concludes. 

ABI analysts now believe that suppliers must develop solutions that closely reflect the needs of enterprise verticals. While it's vital to keep an eye on the future and the migration to SASE, SD-WAN continues to offer upside opportunities to the whole ecosystem.

That said, I anticipate the increasing adoption of distributed workforce strategies will motivate CIOs and CTOs to explore integrated solutions that incorporate networking, security, and comprehensive Digital Workspace offerings. Unified endpoint management will be a key component of the total solution.

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