SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Network) adoption is picking up pace in India and traditional WAN vendors are being slow to adapt. The gap between the pace of adoption versus the slowness to respond is opening up the possibility that, within 3-5 years, the Enterprise WAN market, in particular the Enterprise Router market in India, will be fully fragmented. What used to be a market dominated by 3 to 4 major vendors might soon see a wave of new challengers bent on overcoming the incumbents. Sounds too far-fetched? Just look at what Android did to the Mobile phone market.
It is difficult to believe today that the first Android phone was launched in just a decade ago, in October 2008. Since then, the market has transitioned almost completely from Proprietary Hardware/OS Mobile to Android (Apple remains a significant outlier).
Even better, over time, the quality and pricing of Android is getting better because of the range of competitive phones, with several brands and a wide price range, even as every vendor is in a race to constantly improve their phone performance, often through better hardware – faster processor, better screen resolution, more RAM and so on. The biggest beneficiaries are the consumers who get cheaper phones, more phone choices and, thanks to the ecosystem that Android has spawned, more App choices.
2011: Symbian 75% and Android: 0.88%
2015: 10 Mobile Phone vendors*. Top Vendor market share: 27%
2015: Symbian 5% and Android: 50%
2018: More than 10 Mobile Phone vendors*. Top Vendor market share: 25%
2018: Android: 81%
(Information Source: Statcounter GlobalStats)
*Number of vendors for ~ 98% Market Share
(Information Source : https://www.sdxcentral.com/sd-wan/ )
A typical SD-WAN network model consists of a Network Orchestrator, which is deployed on Public Cloud, centralised Orchestrator, is used to provision, manage and monitor, and SD-WAN Edge is deployed in datacenters, Branch Locations and Cloud. Unlike routers, which are proprietary appliances, SD-WAN Edge software can be deployed on COTS servers and Open uCPE (Universal Customer Premise Equipment) manufactured by ODMs, it can be deployed on virtualised environment and on Public Cloud, which makes SD-WAN an open and a cost-effective solution. One huge benefit of an SD-WAN model is the additional flexibility gained simply by being software – new capabilities are added quickly, and enhancements are easy to implement.
In price-conscious India, enterprises with multiple branch locations and distributed applications are quickly evaluating and deploying SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) solutions for optimised application performance and also to save costs incurred on WAN with routers and expensive MPLS.
The SD-WAN market is expected to have a tremendous growth, IDC predicts that this market will be $6 Billion by 2020 globally. SD-WAN vendors are gearing up to address this growing market, and even incumbent networking vendors like Cisco and VMWare have acquired SD-WAN companies. WAN Optimisation and UTM Vendors are integrating SD-WAN solution to their existing solution and most importantly many SD-WAN Start-ups are offering simple, scalable and cost-effective solution. In fact, SD-WAN solution are now increasingly available as a “Network-as-a-Service”.
The present router market in India has just 4 vendors who have 95% plus market share, with the top vendor having more than 60% market share. However, in the coming 3 to 5 years, Enterprise WAN market will have many more vendors, including SD-WAN vendors, who will probably grow far faster than traditional router vendors.
The reason is simple: with its emphasis on open connectivity, flexibility, and commoditisation, SD-WAN will disrupt and fragment the Enterprise WAN Router market. Using SD-WAN will help Enterprise to replace their traditional routers, reducing Capex and Opex, save network costs by replacing or augmenting MPLS. Some enterprises will modernise their network for faster transition to the cloud, which gives them centralised management and monitoring, flexibility and scale.