virtual reality Channel Vision | September - October, 2017 22 There remains no doubt how macro trends including cloud adop- tion, internet usage and the increas- ing number of people and places that need to be connected have made traditional WAN technologies less appealing, if not less relevant. But as is often the case with new technologies and paradigm shifts, the early realities are not always aligned with the initial hype, and early returns are not always the same as initial prom- ises and expectations. For one thing, a survey of IT executives by Cato Networks suggests early SD-WAN trials and deploy- ments may actually be increas- ing complexity in the WAN, which could lead to increases in operational costs. “SD-WAN adopters now must manage physical and virtual net- works,” argue Cato Network ex- ecutives. “This kind of split-view can exacerbate troubleshooting times as problems emerge in the virtual overlay and the physical infrastructure.” There’s also concern early on that with SD-WAN adoption comes more infrastructure. Over- all, 63 percent of IT personnel considering an SD-WAN see the cost of new equipment and ser- vices as a barrier to investment, putting it at the top of a short list of concerns. A flat half of respon- dents said security gaps created in the network was a barrier. The fears are not unfounded. Among companies that have deployed SD-WAN, more than a third reported an increased investment in routers and WAN optimization appliance versus 14 percent and 28 percent, respectively, which saw a de- crease in spending in those areas. More than half reported increased investment in network security appliances. “This means more provider relationships to develop and more parties to manage,” said Cato Network executives. “Numerous policies and options must also be correctly configured for proper operation.” Likewise, SD-WAN has not so far been the MPLS killer many had hoped or predicted. Accord- ing to Cato Networks findings, By Martin Vilaboy The Early Returns on SD-WAN A s the number of early adopters of SD-WAN slowly pile up, we are starting to get our first real-world feedback on the impact the technology can have on network infrastructure and the operation of wide area networks.