Elie Dib: SD-WAN represents the future of networking Elie Dib: SD-WAN represents the future of networking

The need for Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is being driven by budget constraints (among other factors) as cost-effective delivery of apps (65%) and the ability to scale network bandwidth without increasing cost (52%), are the top criteria impacting WAN investment decisions, according to results from a survey conducted by Riverbed at the end of 2016.  The survey further revealed that SD-WAN adoption in the Middle East is set to follow the global trend, with nearly 50% of enterprises already having initial discussions around the adoption of this technology. 78% of organisations agree that SD-WAN will be a critical part of their network infrastructure within the next five years.  

Elie Dib, senior managing director, Middle East, Turkey and North Africa, at Riverbed Technology said: "SD-WAN represents the future of networking and is a rapidly growing technology trend. It is an approach that can solve the complexity of hybrid clouds and networks, improve efficiency and flexibility, and enable organisations to easily shift workloads and deploy new applications and services including into the cloud." He added: "Our Riverbed SteelConnect solution, for example, effectively enables the replacement of thousands of manually configured routers with virtual network design based on zero-touch provisioning and easy change management. IT teams need to continue to convince senior management to invest in SD-WAN and they can do this by clearly outlining the business benefits."

The survey found that when it comes to WAN, the main challenges being faced by organisations are related to loss of critical services; user, network and application vulnerabilities; as well as increased and costly IT complexity. Among the advantages offered by SD-WAN, Middle East respondents believe the top benefits include: increased application and network visibility and security (56%); and reduction in complexity of network configuration and increased utilisation of resources (50%).

Budget constraints are driving SD-WAN in a big way. "IT budgets are being spread thin across a host of new technology domains, not to mention on the upgrade and maintenance of existing investments. Network teams are expected to deliver increased performance and agility with fewer resources and this requires unified control and management of both traditional and hybrid-cloud networks,” said Dib.