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Fortinet, Huawei, Palo Alto, VMware Lauded in Gartner Peer Insights SD-WAN Study

Thousands of customers have weighed in on how their SD-WAN vendors have performed.

James Anderson

March 24, 2023

5 Min Read
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Palo Alto Networks, VMware and many other SD-WAN vendors earned props from customers in Gartner Peer Insights SD-WAN Voice of the Customer quadrant.

Gartner’s latest study lists four suppliers in its “Customers’ Choice” quadrant: Fortinet, Huawei, Palo Alto and VMware. The study, not to be confused with Gartner’s WAN Edge Infrastructure Magic Quadrant, aggregates recent reviews from end users about their experience buying, deploying and managing SD-WAN solutions.

All vendors are classified under specific quadrants based on their “overall experience” and “user interest and adoption.” “Customers’ Choice” quadrant represents the highest overall experience and maximum user interest and adoption.

Channel Futures analyzed ratings from Gartner’s Peer Insights review portal to see how vendors are performing in different customer segments. One can toggle around the Gartner Peer Insights portal to see various customer reviews on the SD-WAN providers. VMware has listed a link to an abbreviated version of the report.

Larger Enterprises: $1 Billion and Higher

Peer Insights includes categories for customers of $1 billion-$10 billion and $10-plus billion revenue. Combining those categories shows that Palo Alto has received the most reviews all-time, at 178. Furthermore, those customers rated it an average of 4.9.

The second most all-time reviews came for Versa Networks (87). Customers rated it 4.6 on average. Huawei (86) scored 4.9, and Cisco (82) scored 4.6.

Midsize Enterprises: $50 Million-$1 Billion

When enterprise customers generating between $50 million and $1 billion annually weighed in, the results looked good for Palo Alto Networks in Gartner’s Peer Insights. The vendor, which bought SD-WAN pure play CloudGenix in 2020, earned an average 4.9 rating from 126 reviewers in the customer segment.

We recently compiled a list of 20 top SD-WAN providers offering products and services via channel partners.

“The Prisma SD-WAN solution has allowed us to gain full utilization of both our primary and secondary site links and given us greater visibility into our WAN network,” wrote a retail customer in Oceania, who chose Palo Alto over Cisco and Netskope.

However, Gartner did not award Palo Alto a spot on its Voice of the Customer quadrant for this particular customer segment. The devil in the details here is that Gartner uses Voice of the Customer as a way to draw out more recent reviews in its Peer Insights portal. Specifically, it takes reviews from the last 18 months and weighs answers those first six months at 50%.

Fifty-eight reviewers rated Huawei an average of 4.9, and another 58 rated HPE Aruba a 4.9. Oracle earned a 4.9 average as well, but from only 12 reviewers. Fortinet garnered the most reviewers for this category at 253, and they gave Fortinet an average of 4.7.

Moreover, when Gartner weighed the reviews it deems more recent and relevant, VMware claimed “Customers’ Choice” honors, shown in the graphic below. Fifty-three VMware reviewers gave VMware an average of 4.7.

“Solution is straight-forward and flexible to deploy and works well across a mixture of transport topologies (MPLS and Internet),” said a transportation client, who bought the solution directly from VMware. “Orchestrator is cloud-hosted and does not require any on-premises component.”

Huawei, Aryaka, Fortinet, Cradlepoint and Forcepoint rounded out the list.

A “company size” segmented view of this market, arranging all eligible vendors based on their “overall experience” and “user interest and adoption” in quadrants. The upper right quadrant highlights vendors that are Customers’ Choice.

Smaller Customers: $0-$50 Million

Gartner did not publish a quadrant for its smallest customers, which generate less than $50 million annually. However, Peer Insights shows Peplink topping the list in this category. It earned a five-star average rating from 44 reviewers in that customer segment.

Although some customers said Peplink lacked the full set of cybersecurity requirements they needed, many said the vendor’s wired and wireless solutions met their pain points.

“We chose the Peplink platform for its ease of use in temporary deployments and flexibility to accommodate multiple bonding algorithms simultaneously for different classes of traffic,” wrote a network administrator, who chose the wireless solution over Cradlepoint’s. “While it does not offer advanced security options like real-time Anti-Virus or Malware it does provide Traffic and Application based filtering which we have found to be more than suitable in our deployments.”

VMware also earned a five-star average, with 26 reviewers. Many vendors earned five-star averages but without a large enough sample size to make it statistically significant.

Palo Alto averaged a 4.9 from 26 reviewers, and Aryaka earned a 4.8 from 16 reviewers. Versa (31 reviewers), Cisco (18 reviewers) and Juniper (13 reviewers) got a 4.7. Fortinet registered a 4.6 from 53 reviewers.

Federal/Government/Education

Gartner Peer Insights includes a category for public sector customers that use SD-WAN. Fortinet has garnered the most public sector reviews of all time, at 29. Those add up to an average of a 4.8 rating.

“Fortigate firewalls are feature-rich and unlike some of their competitors, if you forget or decide not purchase maintenance, they will still function albeit with reduced functionality as opposed to stopping,” one government customer wrote.

Next is Cradlepoint, with a total count of 16 reviews and an average rating of 4.5.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Thirty-five percent of Aryaka‘s customers hailed from the manufacturing segment. That was the highest percentage of manufacturing customers for a vendor. HPE Aruba counted 30% of its reviewers in the manufacturing segment. Peer Insights shows that Palo Alto possesses the most reviewers from manufacturing, at 49.

  • Singapore-based RansNet, which hasn’t appeared on the magic quadrant, landed in the “Strong Performers” quadrant and earned a 4.8 rating from the 25 customer reviews Gartner considered.

  • Huawei bested its competitors when it came to EMEA and APAC.

  • HPE Aruba and VMware claimed the top quadrant for North America.

  • Dell’Oro Group recently listed Cisco, Fortinet and VMware as the top three market share leaders for SD-WAN. It also delved into how SD-WAN fits into the category of SASE.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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