Research: The Next-Gen WAN

Aug 23, 2012


Research: The Next-Gen WAN

One respondent to our InformationWeek Next Generation WAN Survey asked an ­interesting rhetorical question: “Shouldn’t there be a Moore’s Law of WAN connectivity?”

At least, we think it was rhetorical.

It’s clear why IT wants capacity and cost to follow Gordon Moore’s longstanding rule. More than half of the 315 IT business technology professionals responding to our survey spend 11% or more of their total IT budgets on wide-area connectivity, and 44% have 16 or more branch or remote offices connecting to HQ or primary data centers. Innovation leaps and cost reductions could really help here.

One bright spot is that many are using Ethernet services to build resilient networks. Ethernet continues to gain in service provider markets as well, as ISPs deploy more Ethernet circuits in the local loop and run MPLS networks over the top. Most, 73%, of respondents are using IP VPN/MPLS services as part of their WAN strategies.

Although it seems impossible, our last Next-Generation WAN report, released in February 2011, mentions “cloud” just twice. In our current survey, 31% of respondents say adoption of public cloud services (SaaS, IaaS or PaaS) has caused them to reevaluate their WAN strategies; often, that translates to driving multipoint MPLS instead of point-to-point services.

As for WAN security, just 8% say their organizations are more vulnerable to WAN-based attacks and security breaches compared with a year ago, with 29% declaring themselves less exposed. WAN security measures, especially when it comes to Internet links, continue to center on firewalls. But there are signs that companies are adopting multilayered security, including Intrusion detection/prevention systems, Web application firewalls and proxy servers. And, SSL VPN adoption is just eight points behind IPSec, with 51% and 59%, respectively, using these technologies.

Still, there are two messages that came through loud and clear from respondents:  Bandwidth is always insufficient, and it’s not the service, it’s the budget. As with so many areas of IT, from storage to app dev, user demand is rising at a faster clip than what companies are willing to pay for. And the problem can be compounded for teams that support global WANs, since carriers aren’t evenly delivering services worldwide. (R5340912)

Survey Name   InformationWeek 2012 Next-Generation WAN Survey

Survey Date   July 2012

Region   North America

Number of Respondents    315

Purpose   To evaluate the use of next-generation WAN technologies in the enterprise.

Methodology   InformationWeek surveyed business technology decision-makers at North American companies with one or more branch or remote office sites connected to company headquarters or a primary data center. The survey was conducted online, and respondents were ­recruited via an email invitation containing an embedded link to the survey. The email ­invitation was sent to qualified InformationWeek subscribers.

Research Report