Mauricio Sanchez

Senior Research Director

Modern enterprise IT architecture has experienced significant upheaval since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, as it shattered the traditional, centralized IT model for users, data, and applications. The current view assumes that even in the post-pandemic era, users, data, and applications must be highly distributed for an enterprise to be competitive and is forcing IT teams to focus on a trifecta of transformational initiatives:

  • Cloud application transformation that recasts enterprise applications into modern-style microservices running across multiple public and private clouds
  • Edge transformation to enable a new class of high-performance, latency-sensitive applications sitting at the enterprise edge
  • Workforce transformation to facilitate the “Work from Anywhere” workforce

The implications for the enterprise WAN network are enormous in terms of how it is designed and operated. Unfortunately, the classical hardware-centric approach that relies on traditional routing and operations workflows is ill-suited to address the WAN networking demands associated with the information trifecta.

For the past decade, the vendor community has been evolving and iterating towards a new class of enterprise WAN solutions we refer to as Distributed Cloud Networking. These solutions are better tuned to the new demands on the enterprise WAN. These solutions emphasize software over hardware, constant reconfiguration over set-and-forget policies, tight integration with cloud providers over remaining agnostic, and opex over capex costing models.

Distributed Cloud Networking is the basket of technologies and solutions that provide secure connectivity between public and private clouds, enterprise sites (branches), and users/devices. Moreover, these solutions foster a more collaborative mindset between the networking and applications (DevOps) teams.

Several industry terms are in use today to denote solutions in the Distributed Cloud Networking space, including multi-cloud networking software (MCNS), cloud networking-as-a-service (Cloud NaaS), software-defined interconnect, and next-gen SD-WAN. Vendors entering the market are doing so with diverse pedigrees, including traditional networking hardware, SD-WAN, SASE, content delivery networks, application security and delivery, managed service providers, and pure-play (startup) vendors.

This report will define Distributed Cloud Networking against the backdrop of use cases that arise with the information transformation trifecta. It quantifies the Distributed Cloud Networking market against the backdrop of existing markets, such as the comms service provider transport, enterprise routing (high-end and access), SASE/SD-WAN, SASE/SSE, and multi-cloud networking software (MNCS) markets. Also included is an analysis of market drivers and inhibitors that are expected to shape market growth over the next five years.

To take advantage of the opportunities in this market, vendors and financial institutions need to answer critical business questions about Distributed Cloud Networking, including:

  • What technologies are in? Which ones is it replacing and complimenting?
  • How large has the market been? How significant will it be in five years?
  • What are the primary use cases? How fast are enterprises adopting it?
  • Who are the vendors?
  • How do public cloud service providers participate in the market? Will they overtake the opportunity?
  • What is expected to be the regional revenue?
  • What are the inhibitors to growth? What are the accelerators?