Riverbed Survey Results: Software-Defined IT Reimagined with SD-WAN

Joshua Dobies

With the increased use of cloud computing, encrypted applications and network-sensitive or bandwidth-intensive applications like voice over IP (VoIP) and video, IT organizations are struggling to make existing infrastructure adapt to these needs, while staying within budget.

In the software-defined IT world of the distributed enterprise, networking is starting to be reimagined with software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) technologies that leverage automation, policy-driven control, built-in analytics, network service provisioning and orchestration in an effort to deliver the best end-user experience cost effectively. While it is possible to configure traditional branch routers manually to create a hybrid wide area network (WAN) with existing technology, the resulting configuration is complex and unlikely the final deployment. Organizations today need WAN router configurations to accommodate an application and business-centric approach. Accordingly, SD-WAN is a new WAN architecture that promises to deliver superior performance of hybrid applications across hybrid networks with greater agility and ease. 

Given the changing nature of enterprise networking, Riverbed decided to survey attendees of the recent VMworld conference about their companies’ current plans for these emerging technologies. Riverbed surveyed 260 attendees in person, from a variety of roles and with a median company size of 2,300 employees.

In short, SDN adoption in the datacenter is gaining strong interest with SD-WAN emerging as the next wave of network innovation for remote and branch office locations.

According to the survey results:  

    77% of survey respondents said that their organizations are at some level of participation with software-defined networking solutions within their data center (SDN)

      The top three drivers for adopting a software-defined approach to networking in order of importance are:

      • Being able to deploy new applications and services more quickly (71% said this was somewhat/extremely important)
      • Reducing costs (69% of those pursuing)
      • Reducing mistakes when deploying applications and services (68%)

      29% are discussing similar architectures for their remote and branch office locations (SD-WAN)

      While these results point to SD-WAN adoption being very nascent, I foresee this changing in the next 3-5 years as organizations look to deploy a SD-WAN solution as a modern replacement for traditional branch networking solutions.

      To view our presentation with key findings and full survey results, click here.

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