Aryaka’s 5th Annual Global State of the WAN Report

Welcome to the 5th edition of Aryaka’s global State of the WAN Report! It goes without saying that 2020 is a year to be remembered, and 2021 is shaping up to be the same!

This is the industry’s most comprehensive report, polling over 1350 enterprises across every geography and vertical. Common themes this year include the continuing fusion of networking and security based on SD-WAN and SASE architectures, continued work-from-home plans, as well as the common concerns surrounding complexity and application performance.

Looking at some of the key findings, we begin with SASE, top of mind for many planning their next WAN investments. Over a third of the respondees stated that they are currently deploying what they consider to be a SASE architecture, and as we know, this may take many forms in terms of deployment, capabilities, and vendor preference. When asked about capabilities requested, it is not surprising that SD-WAN transport comes out on top. This is followed by Secure Web Gateway (SWG) and Firewall as a Service (FWaaS).

SASE deployment time frame
SASE capabilities

For the deployment approach, the majority intend to leverage a combination of their networking and security vendors, speaking to the importance of solid transport for any WAN transformation.

SASE deployment approach

Moving to the pandemic, a common theme we’ve heard over the past year is that it has accelerated digital transformation, as well as mandating support for a hybrid workplace. On a positive note, some of the security concerns raised a year ago concerning verticals and roles – basically, organizations that did not have experience with a hybrid workplace and how to properly lock down the extended security perimeter – luckily proved to be mostly unfounded. Looking to the future, over 80% expect more than a quarter of employees to remain remote, a finding borne out by other analysts and surveys.

Accelerated digital transformation
remote employees

This move to a permanent hybrid work environment of course impacts planning and mandates on-premises and remote worker flexibility, identified by almost 2/3 as critical. A PoP-centric services architecture enables this flexibility.

Hybrid work environment

Moving on to applications, it is not only the total number of applications in use, but focus. Remote collaboration has become top-of-mind, and one example is Zoom, identified by 36% as critical. Other up-and-coming applications include Teams, SAP/HANA, and Slack. This mix of distributed SaaS applications requires a WAN that supports the performance requirements of these demanding applications, something that a cloud-first approach handles exceptionally well.

cloud application usage
cloud application usage comparison

For deployment, more enterprises have moved down the path from just evaluating the technology to active vendor selection, developing the business case, or deploying. For example, 26% are evaluating vendors, up from 17% in 2019 and 23% in 2020. We expect this trend to only accelerate over the coming year as enterprises move beyond the more tactical considerations of 2020 to more strategic planning in 2021.

SASE deployment
Deployment stage comparison for last 3 years

Lastly, enterprise managed services acceptance continues to grow, and top requests include application optimization, security, connectivity including the cloud, managed last mile services, and support for remote workers. These are all elements one might expect from a one-stop managed networking and security offering.

Managed services acceptance

Download the full report and the infographic to learn more!

Watch the 2021 SOTW webinar on-demand –

About the author

David Ginsburg
Dave is currently VP of Product and Solutions Marketing at Aryaka, bringing to the company over 25 years of experience spanning corporate and product marketing, product management, digital marketing, and marketing automation. Previous marketing leadership roles included Cavirin, Teridion, Pluribus, Extreme, Riverstone Networks, Nortel and Cisco. His expertise spans networking, cloud deployments, and SaaS. Dave lives in Los Gatos with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs.