Survey finds SD-WANs are hot, but satisfaction with telcos is not

A recent survey of over 400 IT executives by Cato Networks found that legacy telcos might be on the outside looking in for SD-WANs.

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This week SD-WAN vendor Cato Networks announced the results of its Telcos and the Future of the WAN in 2019 survey. The study was a mix of companies of all sizes, with 42% being enterprise-class (over 2,500 employees). More than 70% had a network with more than 10 locations, and almost a quarter (24%) had over 100 sites. All of the respondents have a cloud presence, and almost 80% have at least two data centers.  The survey had good geographic diversity, with 57% of respondents coming from the U.S. and 24% from Europe.

Highlights of the survey include the following key findings:

SD-WANs are hot but not a panacea to all networking challenges

The survey found that 44% of respondents have already deployed or will deploy an SD-WAN within the next 12 months. This number is up sharply from 25% when Cato ran the survey a year ago. Another 33% are considering SD-WAN but have no immediate plans to deploy. The primary drivers for the evolution of the WAN are improved internet access (46%), increased bandwidth (39%), improved last-mile availability (38%) and reduced WAN costs (37%). It’s good to see cost savings drop to fourth in motivation, since there is so much more to SD-WAN.

It’s interesting that the majority of respondents believe SD-WAN alone can’t address all challenges facing the WAN. A whopping 85% stated they would be confronting issues not addressed by SD-WAN alone. This includes secure, local internet breakout, improved visibility, and control over mobile access to cloud apps. This indicates that customers are looking for SD-WAN to be the foundation of the WAN but understand that other technologies need to be deployed as well.

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