Fourth Annual Global State of the WAN Report reveals top challenges

Published: Thursday, 23 April 2020 09:08

Aryaka has published its Fourth Annual Global State of the WAN report, a global survey exploring the challenges and opportunities presented to IT network managers around their wide area network (WAN). The report, which surveyed 1,100 respondents, reveals that application performance, impacted by network complexity at the edge and in the cloud, is the key enterprise concern this year for organizations implementing SD-WAN.

Enterprise complexity at the edge and within the cloud are creating a challenging environment for IT organizations. IT managers identify complexity and slow performance of both on-prem and cloud-based applications as their biggest concerns. Complexity (37 percent) replaces cost as the number one concern, followed by slow on-prem performance (32 percent) and slow access to cloud and software as a service (SaaS) apps (32 percent). Security (31 percent) and long deployment times (30 percent) are also in the top four.

With so many applications in use, many of which are cloud-based, IT is consumed by managing application performance and access to the cloud. The biggest IT time consuming issues identified by respondents were remote and mobile (47 percent), application performance at the branch (43 percent) and accessing the cloud, which doubled from 20 percent in 2019 to 42 percent in 2020.

Challenges surrounding Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)

The survey showed that while network managers have high expectations as performance, UCaaS is still challenging to deploy globally, and, once again, complexity is the culprit. Respondents identified set-up and management as the number one challenge for voice and video (48 percent in 2020; 27 percent in 2019), highlighting the need for managed solutions that hide the complexity. Lag/delay was a close second (43 percent in 2020; 30 percent in 2019), which illustrates network performance issues. This was followed by dropped calls (39 percent).

It’s all about the apps and where they’re connecting from

Most of the enterprises surveyed are leveraging over 10 SaaS applications (51 percent in 2020 versus 23 percent in 2019), which speaks to the criticality of cloud performance. In terms of where these SaaS apps are hosted, it’s a multi-cloud world, with AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, Oracle, and Alibaba Cloud all well represented. What’s more, enterprises are continuing to increase the number of applications deployed. A growing number of companies are deploying 100+ applications: 59 percent in 2020 compared to 43 percent in 2019.

What’s being done to reduce complexity?

To address increased complexity and the time spent managing the WAN, enterprises regardless of size are undergoing major initiatives that include automation, the cloud and newer areas of interest such as internet of things (IoT), AI/ML and blockchain. For broad IT initiatives, automation grew substantially to 41 percent of respondents in 2020 from only 31 percent in 2019, as did IoT (29 percent in 2020 from 18 percent in 2019), AI/ML (27 percent in 2020 from 12 percent in 2019), and blockchain (21 percent in 2020 from only five percent in 2019).

On the cloud front, regardless of company size, upgrades and management are important as well as a keen interest in 5G. This last initiative reflects the interest in 5G as a future primary connectivity option for SD-WAN. Respondents identified cloud upgrades (37 percent) and management (38 percent) as top networking initiatives. 42 percent of respondents also named 5G as a top initiative for this year.

Study methodology

The Fourth Annual Global Aryaka 2020 State of the WAN study surveyed over one thousand global IT and network practitioners at enterprise organizations across all verticals, headquartered in NA, APAC and EMEA. The survey asked respondents about their networking and performance challenges, priorities and their plans for 2020 and beyond.

More details.