For the past three years, the software-defined WAN or SD-WAN, has been one of the most talked about technology trends. By some estimations there are 60+ vendors, all marketing their products around the concept of SD-WAN, each vying to carve out a piece of this emerging multi-billion-dollar market. While all the discussion and hype around SD-WAN has helped shine the spotlight on the business value enterprises can realize by changing the way they build their wide area networks, it has also led to confusion and in some cases delays of adoption.
That is why today’s release of the first ever 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure is such an important milestone for us. Gartner has long been one of the most influential industry analyst firms in the world, providing highly credible perspectives on technology vendors and markets. By listening to thousands of enterprise customers, reviewing each vendor’s solution in detail and analyzing their Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision, they have published a comprehensive report to provide their view of the Leaders, Challengers, Niche Players and Visionaries in this rapidly changing market (to get a copy of the WAN Edge Magic Quadrant click here). This new Gartner Magic Quadrant recognizes 20 vendors based on their Ability to Execute and their Completeness of Vision.
As the founder and CEO of one of only three companies listed as a Leader in the report I’m very pleased with Gartner’s view of Silver Peak. But more important than being positioned as a Leader, is the focus Gartner is placing on the new WAN edge. We believe they are correctly calling attention to the need for WAN edge infrastructure to move beyond traditional branch routers and beyond basic SD-WAN products.
I also believe Gartner has raised the bar in terms of the market definition and clarification of the WAN edge infrastructure enterprises required in today’s cloud era. While SD-WAN is getting a lot of the hype, the demands of the enterprise over the past three-plus years have moved beyond basic SD-WAN. According to Gartner, “the market for branch office wide-area network functionality is shifting from dedicated routing, security and WAN optimization appliances to feature-rich SD-WAN and vCPE platforms. WAN edge infrastructure now incorporates a widening set of network functions, including secure routers, firewalls, SD-WAN, WAN path control and WAN optimization, along with traditional routing functionality.”
The fact is, most of today’s choices for connecting users to applications at the WAN edge weren’t designed for the cloud era, and as a result, force compromises. Device-centric architectures have hit a wall as enterprises try to stretch their old router-centric WANs to meet today’s business requirements – it’s simply too cumbersome and complicated. Basic SD-WAN solutions were a step in the right direction, but fall well-short of the goal of a fully automated, business-driven network required to keep pace with changing business requirements.
We believe this is what Gartner is trying to tell enterprises, and the new WAN edge is what we’ve focused on building for the past several years. We’ve listened to our customers and designed Unity EdgeConnect, as a unified platform that delivers the highest quality of experience for both end users and IT, turning the network into a business accelerant rather than a business constraint. End users can enjoy always-consistent, always-available application performance, including the highest quality of voice and video, even over broadband. With adaptive local internet breakout, path conditioning and WAN optimization, Silver Peak enables IT to keep users productive and happy. We believe that our ability to deliver a compete WAN edge solution that transcends SD-WAN to focus on the needs of the business, and our 1,000+ production enterprise deployments, are why Gartner named Silver Peak a Leader in the Magic Quadrant.
So, while the hype continues around SD-WAN, we are focused on delivering on a broader set of business requirements. Each release takes us another step toward our vision for a self-driving wide area network where IT leaders can tell the network what the business wants, then use automation and machine learning to just make it work.
This is certainly an exciting time in our industry, and I’m extremely proud of all we’ve accomplished and the direction we’re heading as a company. Most important though is the industry now has the kind of clarity it has been lacking from a trusted third party.
Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure, Joe Skorupa, Christian Canales, Andrew Lerner, Mike Toussaint, October 2018
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This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Silver Peak.