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The volatile road to SD-WAN market leadership

The race to SD-WAN market leadership is a marathon and not a sprint. In the crowded SD-WAN market, we are slowly witnessing a “thinning of the herd” as rapid vendor consolidation is shaping the future of SD-WAN while shuffling the leadership deck.

The market incumbency head start

So far it is clear that enterprise incumbency has been paramount in the success of SD-WAN and has been explicitly used by legacy players and large conglomerates to their advantage. Legacy players used their incumbency to pivot from their core competency (e.g. WAN optimization, security, routing, etc.) while bolting on some SD-WAN capabilities. The problem with their approach is that these solutions were not purpose-built to offer SD-WAN, yet their incumbency gave them a strong start.

Large enterprise-focused conglomerates representing incumbent vendors in the enterprise market (e.g. data center SDN or enterprise routing) have used a market strategy to leverage their large customer base to parlay into SD-WAN wins. For these SD-WAN offerings the solution can often involve current proprietary hardware that locks the enterprise or service provider inflexibly into their legacy hardware.

Smaller pure play SD-WAN vendors that have depended upon venture capital, have either been acquired by a larger conglomerate already, are looking for a suitor, or are exploring different selling channels by partnering with other players in the space.

Proof is in the pudding

Throughout this rapid market movement, Nuage Networks SD-WAN or Virtualized Network Services (VNS) has slowly yet steadily moved up in terms of revenue and perception of leadership within the market. It is the only solution that has not pivoted, has not shifted in its product philosophy or market approach… it has remained steady, and consistent and it is being rewarded for this.

Nuage Networks has always believed that the ideal enterprise consumption model for SD-WAN is through a managed service delivered through a communication service provider (CSP). This was not the general consensus of the industry a few years ago, yet today we are seeing SD-WAN managed services as being the predominant model and increasing in share every year. A recent market report by Frost and Sullivan[1] underscores this fact. In addition, a report from ACG[2] has Nuage Networks ranked #1 in market share for the service provider market. Times have certainly changed.

Overall Nuage Networks leadership in SD-WAN is being recognized in both perception as well as through revenue. In a recent report from IDC[3], Nuage Networks’ SD-WAN revenue measured across the overall market including all consumption models, increased 125% year over year representing a move from #6 to #4 in overall market share position.

Here is one of the charts that IDC shares in the report depicting worldwide market share:

If indeed it is true that SD-WAN market leadership is a marathon and not a sprint, Nuage Networks is prepared for this race, we have advanced gel soles in our shoes, and energy packs in our hands, while we take comfort from our years of advanced routing training and proven innovation to take us forward.

[1] Frost and Sullivan, Global SD-WAN Vendor Market Mid-Year Forecasts 2018, August 2018

[2] ACG Research, A Fresh Market Perspective on SD-WAN, May 2019

[3] IDC, Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure Market Shares, 2018: Incumbent and Start-Up Networking Vendors Continue to Compete in Fast-Growing Market, doc #US45160019, June 2019

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