IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

The SD-WAN Explosion

SD-WAN adoption is starting to extend down from the midmarket, and managed service providers are getting on the bandwagon. By Colleen Frye
Reader ROI: 
SD-WAN uses multiple connection methods to optimize network and application performance, saving bandwidth costs and boosting use
EARLY ADOPTERS were midmarket and larger organizations, but now SMBs with multiple locations are starting to reap benefits too.
MSPs CAN CAPITALIZE on this growing market by helping customers implement solutions or building out SD-WAN practices.

SD-WAN has made C2 Computer Services a “hero” in the eyes of its customers struggling with internet reliability, according to Craig Lojewski, president and CEO.

The Coral Springs, Fla.-based managed service provider started deploying software-defined wide-area networking about a year ago to provide redundancy and improve internet speed and performance for its customers. “Some of these customers’ internet was going down once a week, or even once a month, and now those problems are gone. C2 fixed that; we’re the hero in that scenario,” says Lojewski. “It's been a great tool to add to our stack as a managed service provider.”

Craig Lojewski

Lojewski has jumped on a growing market, expected to climb at a 30.8% CAGR worldwide through 2023 to $5.25 billion, according to IDC. Unlike traditional router-based WAN technology, SD-WAN uses multiple connection methods such as MPLS, broadband internet, and 3G/4G to optimize performance and manageability.

“It was clear that the market needed to move away from a traditional point-to-point routing market to more of a flexible and agile application delivery-focused connectivity,” explains Rohit Mehra, vice president of network infrastructure at IDC. “That's what SD-WAN brought to the table, more intelligence in terms of how routing handled applications, more agility in terms of being able to, on the fly, adapt to the application needs and provide a better user experience.”

With the ability to optimize routing decisions based on factors such as cost and business priority, SD-WAN is “freeing up other resources that make the network more efficient,” says Andrew Ballema, vice president of sales at Chicago-area managed services provider MNJ Technologies and its wholly owned subsidiary Ignyte, a vendor-agnostic provider of managed SD-WAN and connectivity services. “You can certainly lower your bandwidth costs considerably by implementing an SD-WAN within your network.”

But implementing SD-WAN is not just about saving money. It’s also about application optimization, which ultimately improves customer or employee experience. “Just think of applications that you've used, where it's slow and it doesn't load, and it just stinks,” Ballema says. “But it's probably because it's not the right connection going in and out of it.”

The “sweet spot” of early adopters in a market Mehra says is about five years old was midmarket to larger enterprises that were “inherently distributed in nature.” Today, SD-WAN adoption is starting to extend down from the midmarket, says Mehra, pointing to two drivers: MSPs upping their SD-WAN skill set in choosing and deploying appropriate solutions for customers; and the solutions themselves. “As opposed to the early stage, it's not a one size fits all,” Mehra says. “You have multiple solutions from different vendors, so you can pick and choose, and balance your need for simplicity versus your need for the advanced functionality.”

Indeed, vendors are targeting the SMB market with solutions such as the Untangle SD-WAN Router, ADTRAN’s 934 SD-WAN edge appliance, and Fortinet’s FortiGate 40F appliance.

Businesses with multiple locations stand to benefit from SD-WAN in particular. “The more distributed they are, the more remote locations they have, obviously the value of embracing SD-WAN will be that much more,” Mehra says.

About the Author

Colleen Frye's picture

Colleen Frye is ChannelPro's managing editor.

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