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The CF List: 20 Top SD-WAN Providers You Should Know

Did your company or one you work closely with make our list this year?

Edward Gately

May 6, 2021

20 Slides

The surge in remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic has created both opportunities and challenges for SD-WAN providers.

Channel_Futures_Signature_Series_Logo-300x300.pngLast May, our third “CP List” focused on SD-WAN with analysts, members of the Channel Futures Editorial Advisory Board and other industry experts. They shared their views on what it takes to succeed in SD-WAN. We’re back with an updated list on Channel Futures. It includes fresh perspectives on changes in this competitive technology during the past year.

Now a Mainstream Technology

Shin Umeda is vice president of Dell’Oro Group.

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Dell’Oro Group’s Shin Umeda

“Because SD-WAN has matured into a mainstream technology, end users can make decisions about adoption based on their specific need and select their provider accordingly,” he said. “I think that this evolution is largely independent of the pandemic. But I also think SD-WAN adoption has accelerated as part of a larger trend toward more efficient IT spending.”

The surge in remote workers has created both opportunities and challenges, Umeda said.

“On one hand, the ability to offer VPN functionality on SD-WAN platforms has created some incremental demand and monetization,” he said. “But on the other hand, the typical SD-WAN offering is too expensive for the vast majority of remote workers. The pandemic has spurred the development of ‘SD-WAN lite’ solutions that are designed with the specific technology requirements and lower prices in line with the economics of supporting remote workers.”

Shifting Customer Demand for SD-WAN Providers

Bryan Reynolds is TBI‘s director of sales operations.

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TBI’s Bryan Reynolds

“Across technologies there has certainly been a shift in customer demand, expectation of deliverable, and an acceleration of technology adoption that shifts what is considered ‘cutting-edge,’” he said. “Outside of improving [work-from-home] operations, security is top of mind, as it should be. And SD-WAN is playing a key role in the rise of secure access service edge (SASE) and the road to zero-trust network architecture.”

COVID-19 has prompted a massive increase in cybersecurity incidents, Reynolds said. That’s helping IT staff make the argument towards better security models and zero trust is starting to gain steam.

Many SD-WAN providers have security as a focus, he said. And those that don’t are gaining cybersecurity through acquisitions.

Everything Is Now SD-WAN

Brian Washburn, an analyst with Omdia, said the big trend we’re wrestling with is “everything is now SD-WAN.”

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Omdia’s Brian Washburn

“Router vendors, SD-WAN,” he said. “Firewall vendors, SD-WAN. And once customer premises equipment (CPE) merges SD-WAN features into it, anyone doing managed CPE services also is in the SD-WAN business one way or another.”

If you’re an enterprise, the choices can get quite confusing, Washburn said.

“In the router world, you bought Cisco or something not-Cisco,” he said. “Routers have the same core features, and you can use them together and they do basically the same thing. Now it’s not just SD-WAN or not-SD-WAN choices, but whether to upgrade and what to upgrade, and how much SD-features enablement runs throughout the organization.”

Many service providers partner with multiple pure-play SD-WAN vendors. Service providers, including AT&T and Verizon, are using more than one SD-WAN vendor to cover all of the bases for their customers’ needs.

Based on feedback from analysts, experts and recent news reports, we’ve compiled a list, in alphabetical order, of 20 top SD-WAN providers that are making the most of the ongoing competitive landscape and charting success. The list offers a mix of well-known providers as well as lesser-known companies that are making big strides in SD-WAN.

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

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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