There is certainly a lot of hype around SD-WAN, but Gartner estimates that around 500 enterprises have adopted SD-WAN already in around 25,000 branches worldwide.
As with any WAN technology, enterprises have the option to build SD-WAN themselves or consume SD-WAN as a managed service (from a CSP or an OTT player). Each option has its pros and cons and is down to each enterprise to decide the model that works better for them, based on multiple aspects: CAPEX vs OPEX , expertise, support, technological risks, time-to-deploy, global coverage, network performance…
Working closely with PwC, we’ve found at that the enterprise preference will vary across the adoption cycle. The SD-WAN early adopters, have mainly been using a DIY approach, the second wave of adopters have combined DIY and SD-WAN from OTT players, and the third wave that we are about to start, will be dominated by Connectivity Service Providers.
Early adopters are typically less risk averse, more tech savvy. In the first wave of SD-WAN adoption (2015-2016) we find companies with more branch offices therefore higher WAN costs, so the ROI is much more impactful. They won’t wait for the SPs to get ready with their SD-WAN services, and they are willing to take the risk of building and managing SD-WAN using their own IT department.
During this same period, Managed Service Providers have started to build their SD-WAN offerings. By using an OTT approach and without legacy networks to integrate, Managed Service Providers have been faster than the Connectivity Service Providers (CSP). But it will be the CSPs, with their SD-WAN offering integrated with MPLS that will take SD-WAN to the mass adoption of the third wave. CSPs have the market capability to provide sales and technical support, they have a strong brand and they can satisfy at the same time the multiple needs of the enterprise.
The architecture of Juniper’s Cloud CPE solution is designed to help Service Providers to quickly address the enterprise needs at scale, integrating SD-WAN with MPLS, with security and provide the best performance.