VMware, Silver Peak Named 'Leaders' in WAN Edge Infrastructure Research Report
VMware and Silver Peak were the only vendors to be named in the "Leaders" section of research firm Gartner Inc.'s latest Magic Quadrant report on WAN edge infrastructure.
To define exactly what's being researched, the report says "Wide-area network (WAN) edge infrastructure provides network connectivity from distributed enterprise locations to access resources in both private and public data centers, as well as the cloud, via infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS)."
This market is undergoing dramatic change, as branch office WAN edge functionality continues to shift from dedicated routing, security and WAN optimization appliances to feature-rich software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) and, to a lesser degree, uCPE platforms, Gartner said.
In the future, the firm expects software-defined networking (SDN) and other new-age technologies identified with the movement -- such as network functions viirtualization (NFV) -- to continue playing vital roles.
"Moving forward, Gartner views SD-WAN and NFV as key technologies to help enterprises transform their networks from fragile to agile," the report said. "NFV can be in the cloud or on-premises, and Gartner expects to see more functions supported in the cloud. The resulting deployments will increasingly become a choice between a thick branch with more functions operated locally, versus a thin branch with more functions operated in the cloud. Increasingly, we see the consolidation and integration of network and security functions to be a driver in this decision."
As it is now, the Magic Quadrant shows VMware and Silver Peak as "Leaders," Fortinet, Cisco, Citrix and Huawei as "Challengers," Versa, CloudGenix and Aryaka as "Visionaries" and Juniper Networks, Oracle (Talari Networks), HPE (Aruba), Nuage Networks, FatPipe Networks, Cradlepoint, Peplink, Barracuda, Riverbed and Teldat as "Niche Players."
Gartner described one of the "strengths" of VMware -- the highest-positioned vendor -- thusly: "The VMware SD-WAN solution offers a wide range of deployment options for the edge devices. They can be physical or virtual with optional cloud gateways and orchestration, which can be cloud-based, MSP-hosted or cloud-hosted." Of Silver Peak, one of the strengths was described like this: "Silver Peak’s SD-WAN product has strong application performance capabilities, including WAN optimization and real-time traffic optimization (e.g., FEC). Its WAN optimization solution also can be priced as a subscription and shared across a domain."
Gartner said the WAN edge infrastructure market is primarily driven by the following seven factors:
- Refresh of existing branch office router equipment that is at end of support or lacks the desired capabilities
- Renewal of NSP or managed service contracts, where a new service provider also means new equipment
- The changing traffic patterns resulting from the increasing use of cloud and multicloud resources, which renders the traditional hub-and-spoke from remote branch to on-premises data center WAN architecture obsolete
- By distributing internet access to the branch, the security perimeter changes, which typically drives new solutions
- The expansion of capacity (i.e., physical build-outs) within existing locations
- The desire to increase agility and automation to address the needs of digital business transformation and lower opex
- The desire to consolidate more than one branch function, such as routing, security and WAN optimization
"Just a few years ago, the WAN edge market was dominated by a few suppliers with long histories of providing routing," Gartner said. "Security and WAN optimization was often provided by separate dedicated appliances, and even when device consolidation was available, cost savings were small.
"With the acceptance of SD-WAN and the demonstration that routing was increasingly becoming commoditized, companies that often offered adjacent solutions are now aggressively competing."
David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.