IT administrators are paying attention to the significant activity taking place in the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) space. The demand for bigger, better and faster is putting more pressure on networks than ever before, and those holding the cards are considering the benefits associated with centralized control.

While challenges still remain for the more expensive and more complex approach to managing the network, IDC suggests that 30 percent of enterprises plan to make the move to SD-WAN within the next two years. The industry is expected to be worth more than $6 billion by 2020.

According to Gartner, the shift may not be all SD-WAN at once. The research company projects that 10 percent of enterprises will replace wide area network (WAN) routing with some form of a hybrid-WAN technology by 2018, suggesting the push for accommodating demand is just around the corner. Such growth could be stymied, however, by those who manage the budget and believe current systems are still meeting demand.

Still, the benefits afforded with SD-WAN demand attention and legacy systems aren’t designed to meet the demands of today’s users. For instance, the enterprise is increasingly oversubscribing Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) circuits, and WAN utilization hits no more than 40 percent, suggesting considerable waste.  Likewise, short bursts of intense traffic – more common than you think – degrade the performance for everyone involved.

Today’s enterprise networks are not only supporting workstations, they’re also supporting audio and visual communications, smart devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) and more, putting intense pressure on current configurations. As users continue to lean on applications to support their roles and produce results, the strain on the network becomes noticeable. Individual fixes at different end points can help ease the problem, but they don’t provide long-term solutions.

Enterprises are also increasingly turning to centralized control and automation to streamline operations and keep spending under control. SD-WAN supports all of these initiatives, with scalability and agility that band-aid solutions can’t adequately address. It also forces a more uniform approach to management, performance, visibility, monitoring, analytics and optimization, which increases efficiency in overall management, troubleshooting and capacity planning.

With SD-WAN, different parts of the network can be segmented end-to-end, encryption and authentication are supported and better security is enabled. Network traffic is prioritized according to type, and should an attack occur, the attacked segment of the network can be portioned so as to contain the situation without affecting all areas and users.

The point is activity is happening in the SD-WAN space and for good reason. Demand suggests that change must come to ensure the ongoing integrity of the network. Before taking the leap, however, call our experts at SimpleWAN. We’ve got the knowledge and experience to help you weather this storm and come out with the right network configuration on the other side.