According to recent reports from the Dell’Oro Group, the answer is – probably not. SD-WAN growth has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic as companies realise that this might not be the best time to change out all of their branch and core site infrastructure – with growth in the first three quarters of 2020 being only 20% on the same period in the previous year (compared to 64% growth seen in 2019). This will improve into 2021 with growth around 25% per annum predicted until 2025 when the market will surpass $4Bn. The major share of sales last year has gone to (in order) Cisco, VMware, Silver Peak, Versa Networks and Fortinet. The team at Dell’Oro Group also estimate that software accounts for 80% of SD-WAN revenues now and that this proportion will grow over the coming years.

SASE market to reach $5.1Bn by 2025

The group has also looked at SASE growth, fuelled last year by the impact of the pandemic as the rush to enable home-based working has had network managers looking to cloud based services for rapid deployment. Dell’Oro Group expects the SASE market to grow at 116 % compound annual growth rate over the next 5 years and reach $5.1Bn by 2025. In the 18 months since Gartner created the category, they have found 27 vendors with solutions in this space.

These markets are unlikely to be “either/or” but will co-exist for many years to come. Several companies are working between them. For example, Zscaler are working with many SD-WAN vendors to ensure that their SD-WAN kit can easily integrate with Zscaler’s undisputed market leadership in secure web gateways (“Zscaler: The Only Leader in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Secure Web Gateways”), and Nokia Nuage are positioning themselves not as a potential SASE player, but as the leading SASE enabler for service providers.

The race between SASE & SD-WAN

With SASE being a younger/emergent market (compared to SD-WAN) and due to the complexity of the security capabilities it encompasses, more likely to be taken as a managed service, take-up of SASE is likely to be higher in smaller organisations. With many larger corporates taking perhaps a more conservative approach and upgrading their current “legacy” WAN architectures to “more modern” SD-WAN based architectures.

However, regardless of who pulls ahead in the race, the growth in both of these technologies will further accelerate internet penetration into the enterprise WAN market and therefore increase opportunities to transform the wide area networks of all sizes of organisation.

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