SD-Branch market expected to reach $3 billion by 2022

As long as I have been an industry analyst, network engineers have tried to build multifunction boxes that are capable of addressing a wide range of network functions. These all-purpose network boxes have been lost to history as single-function platforms optimized for network performance (e.g., router or WAN optimization) dominated the market. The branch network is poised to benefit from the advances in software networking to collapse all network functions on to a single platform — the software-defined branch (SD-Branch).

A total addressable market (TAM) analysis of the SD-Branch market starts with understanding the total spend on branch networking hardware and software. Worldwide spending on routers, WAN optimization, SD-WAN, network security, Wi-Fi, and ethernet switches at branch locations is approximately $15 billion, according to Doyle Research. (Disclosure: I’m the principal analyst at Doyle Research.)

SD-Branch solutions are just reaching the market during 2018 — so spending will remain small this year. Expect SD-Branch adoption to accelerate during 2019-2021 as many suppliers introduce new products and as distributed organizations achieve CAPEX and OPEX benefits. Doyle Research forecasts that worldwide expenditures on SD-Branch solutions will reach $3 billion by 2022.

What is the SD-Branch?

SD-Branch is defined as having SD-WAN, routing, network security, and LAN/Wi-Fi functions all in one platform with integrated, centralized management. Software-based networking technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN), software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), and network functions virtualization (NFV) have abstracted network intelligence from the integrated network appliance (aka black box). The concept of the SD-Branch is to leverage network virtualization to run several discrete functions on a single platform. Advances in silicon from Intel, ARM, and Broadcom enable the network horsepower to run routing, SD-WAN, network security, and Wi-Fi functionality on one hardware platform.

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