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Navigating the 2023 SD-WAN Market: Insights from IDC and Gartner

In the ever-evolving landscape of networking and connectivity, SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) has emerged as a transformative technology. SD-WAN offers organisations the ability to optimise network performance, reduce costs, and enhance security.

To navigate this dynamic market, industry reports such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant and IDC MarketScape play a crucial role in evaluating the key players and trends. In 2023, these reports provide valuable insights into the top SD-WAN vendors and the state of the market.

IDC's Assessment of Top SD-WAN Vendors

IDC evaluated 12 leading vendors in the SD-WAN market and identified the following companies as the leaders: Cisco, Fortinet, HPE Aruba, Palo Alto Networks, and VMware. These leaders stand out due to their active integration of SD-WAN with security and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

Market Growth: According to IDC's research manager of Enterprise Networks, Brandon Butler, the SD-WAN infrastructure market surged by 25% in 2022. The market is anticipated to reach $7.5 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 10.1% by 2027, according to the 2023 IDC MarketScape on Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure. This growth is attributed to several factors, including the optimisation of WAN performance, cost savings, and the acceleration of cloud adoption.

Cost Savings: The 2022 Global SD-WAN Survey by IDC found that nearly one-third of respondents (31.8%) expect to save more than 20% on WAN costs from deploying SD-WAN. This highlights the financial advantages of adopting SD-WAN solutions.

Key Trends: Leading SD-WAN vendors are riding the wave of key trends in the industry, such as integrating SD-WAN with security, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architectures, SD-Branch (SD-WAN + LAN/WLAN), and the use of AI and machine learning (ML) for enhanced analytics and automation.

Gartner Magic Quadrant's Evaluation of Top SD-WAN Vendors

Gartner's Magic Quadrant is another influential report in the technology industry. It evaluates vendors based on their completeness of vision and ability to execute. In 2023, Gartner identified several key SD-WAN vendors in different categories.


  1. Fortinet: Offers SD-WAN and security-integrated capabilities through FortiGate physical or virtual appliances. Its focus on security may limit appeal to those seeking a networking-specific vendor.

  2. HPE Aruba Networking: Offers EdgeConnect SD-WAN and SD-Branch solutions, and recently acquired Axis Security for SASE. Known for high customer satisfaction and an array of enterprise networking products.

  3. VMware: Based on VeloCloud technology, VMware offers a growing portfolio of cloud-based security tools. The looming Broadcom acquisition has raised concerns among customers.

  4. Cisco: A prominent player with two SD-WAN solutions, Catalyst, and Meraki SD-WAN. Cisco stands out for its strong market presence and comprehensive SD-WAN offerings. However, the dual offerings have raised questions about the best use cases for each.

  5. Versa Networks: Known for providing a fully capable SD-WAN offering with strong routing and application steering, security, cloud onramp, and deployment flexibility functions.

  6. Palo Alto Networks: Combines Prisma SD-WAN with Prisma Access for a unified SASE. Primary identity as a security company may not align with organisations seeking a routing-focused SD-WAN vendor.

Major Players, Contenders, and Vendors to Watch: The Gartner Magic Quadrant also identified other significant players in the SD-WAN market, including Aryaka, Barracuda Networks, H3C, Huawei, Juniper Networks, and Nokia. There are also "Vendors to Watch," such as Ericsson/Cradlepoint, Extreme Networks, and Netskope.

What You Need to Know About the Top Vendors:

Let's delve into the strengths and cautions of the top SD-WAN vendors identified by Gartner and the trends highlighted by IDC: Cisco: Known for its strong market share and a heritage in enterprise routing and networking. Offers both Catalyst and Meraki SD-WAN solutions. However, the dual offerings have led to market confusion regarding use cases. Fortinet: Offers strong security integration but is primarily a security vendor. May face limitations when integrating with third-party security tools. HPE Aruba Networking: Focused on the midmarket with EdgeConnect SD-WAN. High customer satisfaction and a range of enterprise networking products. Recent acquisition of Axis Security for SASE. Palo Alto Networks: Strong in security but may not be ideal for organisations seeking a routing-focused SD-WAN vendor. Limited offerings for campus networking technology. VMware: Growing a portfolio of cloud-based security tools. However, VMware does not offer its own WLAN or LAN solutions, and the pending acquisition by Broadcom has raised some concerns.

Versa Networks: Known for providing a fully capable SD-WAN offering with strong routing and application steering, security, cloud onramp, and deployment flexibility functions.

Wrapping Up the 2023 SD-WAN Landscape

The 2023 SD-WAN market is vibrant and growing. As organisations increasingly embrace digital transformation, the need for flexible, secure, and cost-effective network solutions becomes paramount. Both IDC and Gartner provide valuable insights into the leading vendors and market trends. To make an informed decision, you must consider your specific needs and goals when choosing an SD-WAN vendor. Whether you prioritise security, routing capabilities, or AI-driven analytics, there is a vendor in the SD-WAN landscape that can meet your requirements.

At Edge7 Networks, SD-WAN is our bread and butter. It's why we were founded and remains a core technology in our stack. Our SD-WAN vendors of choice, despite Gartner and IDC, are HPE Aruba Networking, and Palo Alto Networks. Their SD-WAN offers have the strongest feature sets, capabilities and usability for our team and we believe they are the best out there on the market.

Get in touch to talk all things SD-WAN with the team, there's nothing we love more!


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